Sheridan, Wyo. (December 7, 2012) – Bighorn National Forest law enforcement officers and managers would like to remind everyone of some important rules and tips for safe winter recreation in the forest.
Forest regulations require that off-road snowmobile travel is allowed only when there are more than six inches of snow. This snow depth protects your investment in your machine as well as the natural features of the land. People caught snowmobiling off-road on less than six inches of snow or damaging exposed vegetation will be issued citations.
Not all areas of the national forest are open to snowmobiles. The Cloud Peak Wilderness, downhill ski areas, cross-country ski trails, and wildlife area closures are off limits to snowmobiles.
Wyoming law requires that all snowmobiles must have either a current Wyoming Resident or Nonresident user fee decal prominently displayed on the outside of each snowmobile. The $25 decal is available at many locations throughout the state.
A little forethought and preparation go a long way to ensuring a safe and enjoyable winter experience in the outdoors.
Poor visibility is another hazard for winter recreation, said recreation staff officer Dave McKee. “Each year, search and rescue operations take place due to snowmobilers getting lost because of low visibility. If visibility is poor, don’t go out. If you’re already out and visibility becomes poor, proceed with extra caution or stay put until it clears enough to see where you are going.”
“Winter brings a magical quiet to the mountains. Whether your interest is snowmobiling, skiing, or just enjoying the quiet beauty of the forest, we think the Bighorn National Forest is a special place in the winter,” added McKee.
Snowmobilers are encouraged to contact the Forest Service to find out what areas are open to snowmobiles. Maps showing snowmobile trails and closed areas are available at Bighorn National Forest offices in Buffalo, Lovell, and Sheridan. The Forest Service can also provide the latest road and travel conditions on the forest. Information about snowmobile registration can be found at the Wyoming Trails website at http://wyotrails.state.wy.us/Snow/Index.aspx. Avalanche awareness information is available from http://www.fsavalanche.org/.