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First take/motorized

I wouldn’t have thought the groups of people seeking to run motorized vehicles – snowmobiles, ATVs and so on – in the backcountry would be quite so large, but maybe it is.

They were among the last holdouts and critics in opposition to the recent designation of the central Idaho wilderness area earlier this year. Now they are filing a lawsuit against the in-progress Kootenai National Forest plan in Montana (the forest is adjacent to northern Idaho) which would designate about 115,000 acres as wilderness.

Wilderness areas generally ban motorized equipment of any sort (planes being a notable exception), and such recreational transports usually are banned from there. But accommodations have been made in some places, as the plaintiffs’ attorney pointed out.

Most of the specific issues in the case concern whether all of the proposals in the plan properly went through the public hearing process, and whether for the proper periods of time. But the presence of motorized transport in wilderness areas is something likely to come back up, in various places. – rs

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