Working for Solutions and Taking the Long View
Winter Wildlands Alliance’s mission is to inspire and empower people to protect America’s wild snowscapes. We represent a fast-growing community of backcountry and Nordic skiers, splitboarders, snowshoers, climbers, climate researchers, and other human-paced winter explorers from Maine to California to Alaska. Our members, and the members of our 33 different grassroots groups in 14 states, are working together to improve climate resilience on public lands, to advocate for sustainable and equitable recreation management, to protect wildlife and watersheds, and to make stewardship and conservation the primary ethic of all backcountry users. We deeply value ecological integrity, natural winter soundscapes, and the opportunity for refuge and respite afforded by the last remaining places across the United States where solitude, wildness, wildlife habitat, and non-motorized experiences are protected. From the backcountry to Washington D.C., Winter Wildlands Alliance works with land managers, elected officials, grassroots groups and other partners to pursue a balanced, adaptive, equitable and collaborative approach to winter recreation management for the long-term protection of the places where we recreate and seek adventure.
Many National Forests across the country are undertaking forest plan revisions. Forest plans are guiding documents that set general management direction for a national forest for 15-30 years. Participating in forest plan revision is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to shape the long-term future of national forests.
- Chugach National Forest – completed 2020
- Inyo National Forest – completed 2019
- Sierra & Sequoia National Forests
- Rogue River – Siskiyou National Forest
- Klamath National Forest
- Mendocino National Forest
- Shasta-Trinity National Forest
- Six Rivers National Forest
- Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre, and Gunnison (GMUG) National Forest
- Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forest
- Salmon-Challis National Forest
- Custer Gallatin National Forest – completed 2022
- Helena-Lewis & Clark National Forest – completed 2021
- Flathead National Forest – completed 2018
- Ashley National Forest
- Manti La Sal National Forest
Much of our work directly supports efforts led by our grassroots groups at the local level. We assist by providing policy expertise, organizing tools, and/or amplification of issues and projects they are working on. Here are some examples:
- Mountain Accord/Central Wasatch legislation, UT (Wasatch Backcountry Alliance, Outdoor Alliance)
- New England glading projects (Granite Backcountry Alliance, Vermont Backcountry Alliance)
- Save Moose Mountain, MN (Superior Highland Backcountry)
- Stemilt Basin winter recreation plan, WA (El Sendero Backcountry Ski and Snowshoe Club)
- Teton Bighorn Sheep Habitat Protection Plan, WY (Teton Backcountry Alliance)
- Working on and supporting legislation to protect public lands and improve recreation opportunities and management
- Advocating for permanent reauthorization and funding for the Land & Water Conservation Fund
- Advocating for adequate and sustainable appropriations for land management agencies
- Working for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in the Outdoors
- Defending the Roadless Rule in Alaska, Utah and beyond
- Working on National Environmental Policy Act reform
- Working on Forest Service Environmental Assessment and Decision Making reform
In 2015, in part because of our work, the Forest Service issued new national guidelines for planning how and where winter motorized use can occur on our National Forests. This new rule was a huge step forward for human-powered recreation, because for the first time the Forest Service is required to implement a “zoning” approach to the backcountry, with some trails and areas designated for motorized use and other areas set aside for non-motorized users or wildlife. Please visit our Winter Travel Management page to learn more.
- Bitterroot National Forest – completed 2016
- Kootenai National Forest
- Idaho Panhandle National Forest (north zone)
- Sawtooth National Forest (north zone of the Fairfield Ranger District) – completed 2018
Winter Wildlands Alliance is directly engaged in collaborative land and recreation management planning in all of the places where our staff are located. These include:
- North Idaho Working Group (ID)
- Gallatin Forest Partnership (MT)
- Custer Gallatin Working Group (MT)
- Eastern Sierra Recreation Collaborative (CA)
The human-powered winter sports community, one of the fastest growing segments of the recreation economy, is on the front lines of climate change. Our members—backcountry skiers and snowboarders, Nordic skiers, polar explorers, mountain guides, ice climbers, winter fat bikers, snowshoers and snow scientists—live and work and play in some of the most climate-impacted regions on the planet. Working with land managers, outdoor industry partners, and 33 grassroots groups in 14 states, we advocate for public lands policies that mitigate and respond to a shifting climate, protecting threatened winter ecosystems, accessible non-motorized snowscapes, critical watersheds, healthy forests, biodiversity and sustainable mountain town economies. We are also committed to climate education and outreach through our national SnowSchool program, engaging more than 33,000 kids annually across 65 outdoor education sites, and our Backcountry Film Festival, which tours 100 communities nationwide and reaches more than 30,000 people each season.
Join our Outdoor Alliance partners in pushing lawmakers to take immediate action!
Winter Wildlands Alliance is a national nonprofit organization working to
inspire and empower people to protect America’s wild snowscapes.