Snowmobiles vs. skiers
Cross-country skiers and snowmobilers are like oil and
waterthey dont mix.
Sawtooth Forest supervisor Bill LeVere promised this week that unless the
two groups resolve their differences by Oct. 1, he will do it for them, probably by
designating separate areas for snowmobiles and skiers.
We welcome LeVeres intervention.
To most cross-country skiers, snowmobiles are like second-hand smoke.
Their fumes are noxious. Their noise is inescapable and pervades the landscape for miles
around. They ruin the serenity sought by skiers in the snowbound landscape.
Some freedom-seeking snowmobilers behave as though there are no limits on
where their machines should go. With ever more powerful engines, they seek ever higher
altitudes, undeterred by their damage to winter-stressed wildlife. They gleefully and
thoughtlessly trash carefully groomed cross-country ski trails.
Yes, these are the bad apples, but they have driven skiers to demand that
the Forest Service confine and regulate the snow-gobbling machines.
The conflict has been simmering underground for years. Local peacemakers
from both groups repeatedly tried and failed to come to any kind of agreement on how the
two groups could live togetheror apart. So, the skiers decided to organize.
The decision by the Forest Service to step in is a healthy one. As all
journalists know, deadlines have a marvelous way of focusing the mind and producing