Snowmobilers are strongly encouraged to obtain a copy of the 2012-2013 Snowmobile Guide for the Priest Lake, Bonners Ferry and Sandpoint Ranger Districts.
The guide provides the locations and seasonal use for legal snowmobile routes on national forest system lands in the Selkirk Mountains, including both trails and open areas.
"We recognize that snowmobiling is a favorite pastime for our communities in North Idaho so we provide this free guide to ensure forest visitors have the best information to keep them safe and in compliance with current laws," said Forest Supervisor Mary Farnsworth.
As snowmobiling season arrives on the Idaho Panhandle National Forests website or picked up from Ranger District offices in Priest Lake, Bonners Ferry and Sandpoint.
The annual snowmobile guide is developed based on legal rulings of Nov. 7, 2006, and Feb. 27, 2007, relating to recovery of woodland caribou and the potential impacts of snowmobile use within the recovery area.
The court's ruling and associated Forest Closure Order will continue to restrict motorized winter travel within the designated recovery area until the IPNF completes a winter travel management plan for the north zone of the forest including science based analysis of the impacts of motorized winter travel on caribou recovery.
Work on the North Zone Winter Travel Plan had been on hold pending a decision from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for designation of Critical Habitat for woodland caribou.
The final decision was released by FWS in November 2012 and does not change any current activity on the forest, including winter motorized travel restrictions.
Since the release of the FWS decision the IPNF anticipates resuming work on the winter travel plan in early spring 2013. Until the final plan is completed, winter motorized travel in the Selkirk Mountains will remain governed by the 2007 court order and the associated Forest Closure Order.