Have you ever wondered just how much backcountry and Nordic skiing contributes to our economy? Or perhaps you’ve noticed more people enjoying the backcountry each year and you’re curious about just how much your favorite winter activity is growing. Well, you’re in luck. Winter Wildlands Alliance is pleased to share our latest report summarizing the trends and economic contribution of human-powered snowsports. We hope that this report helps you get educated on where trends are headed in the backcountry, and as a tool for commenting on public lands projects and proposals that impact your favorite area. Human-powered snowsports are a significant, and growing, part of our local economies and protecting high-quality backcountry experiences is critical to sustaining this economic engine.
Winter Wildlands Alliance has long advocated for balance in the backcountry, and common-sense regulations governing over-snow vehicle use play a role in finding that balance and ensuring great backcountry opportunities for all users. We aren’t just concerned about snowmobile use on public lands because we like to ski untracked powder – the environmental impacts of snowmobiles are well documented, but often ignored. That is why the second report we are releasing summarizes the impact that snowmobiles have on air, water, soils, and wildlife. Pollution and disturbance stemming from winter motorized use have real consequences on the natural environment, and those that live in it – including us. This second tool is a useful reminder as land managers begin to take the more proactive approach to managing winter motorized use we have long advocated. The backcountry has plenty of room for all to roam, but not enough for a free-for-all.
Does winter travel management seem daunting? Are you hoping to not reinvent the wheel when it comes time to help develop a winter travel plan for your favorite national forest? Sometimes it helps to see examples of what works and what doesn’t. To this end, we’ve pulled together a number of case studies on winter travel planning efforts across the West. This report highlights what has proven to work, and not work, in winter travel planning and should help guide future efforts in this regard.