Snowmobiling in Beaverhead-Deerlodge
By Moosetrack Megan

Posted: January 25, 2018

Beaverhead-Deerlodge Over Snow Vehicle Use Maps Available

Release Date: Jan 9, 2018   Dillon, Mont.

Contact(s): Ian Shackleford, Rick Collins

The Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest announced today that free Over Snow Vehicle Use Maps are available to the public at Forest Service offices and on the their website.  Three large double-sided maps show what areas of the Forest are open for travel by snowmobile or other over snow vehicles.

The Over Snow Vehicle Use Maps follow the 2009 Beaverhead-Deerlodge Forest Plan, which designated what areas of the Forest would be open to motorized winter recreation, each year from December 2 to May 15.  A 2016 Record of Decision reaffirmed what areas would be open and closed, following six years of legal challenges and additional analysis.  An “over snow vehicle” is defined as any motor vehicle having skis or tracks designed exclusively for over-snow travel and operated entirely on snow.  An ATV fitted with removable tracks is considered an over snow vehicle.

Approximately 60% of the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest is open to winter motorized use.  Closed areas include wilderness areas, recommended wilderness areas, private land, and other areas identified to protect wildlife, soils, or other forest resources.

In addition to showing what areas of the forest are open to over-snow vehicles, the maps identify over 650 miles of road open to over-snow vehicles.  Some of the roads are part of groomed snowmobile trails maintained by groups such as the Anaconda Snowmobile Club, Beaverhead Sno-Riders, Big Hole Snowmobile Club, Mining City Trail Riders, Wise River Jackpine Savages, and the Vigilante Snowmobilers.  Many more miles of road are open to motorized use within the designated open areas, but are not groomed.

Forest Supervisor Melany Glossa announced the new maps. “We are pleased to offer these new maps and to encourage winter recreation on the Beaverhead-Deerlodge.  The maps reflect years of public involvement and work by the Forest Service to provide opportunities for all kinds of winter recreation while protecting sensitive areas and wildlife.”

The Over Snow maps are available at Forest Service offices in Dillon, Butte, Wisdom, Ennis, Sheridan, and Philipsburg.  Online PDF maps are also available on the Forest website at www.fs.usda.gov/main/bdnf/maps-pubs.  The PDF maps are geo-referenced, which allows users with compatible GPS-enabled smartphones to see their location on the map.

Please keep avalanche safety in mind as you travel in the forest.  The Over Snow maps do not imply or otherwise suggest that an area open to motorized over-snow use has been evaluated for avalanche hazard.  Avalanche hazard may exist at any time there is snow on the ground; users are responsible for making their own assessment as to avalanche risk and other conditions.  More information is available online at www.avalanche.org.

For more information on winter recreation or the Over Snow Vehicle Use Maps, call (406) 683-3900.