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Fighting to Secure Quiet Winter Space for Wolverine, Grizzly and Lynx

July 22, 2016
Marla Nelson, (651) 434-7737, mnelson@wildearthguardians.org
In This Release
Friday, July 22, 2016
Fighting to Secure Quiet Winter Space for Wolverine, Grizzly and Lynx

Group challenges snowmobile use on the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest
Contact: Marla Nelson, (651) 434-7737, mnelson@wildearthguardians.org

Additional Contact:

Sarah McMillan, 406-549-3895, smcmillan@wildearthguardians.org

Missoula, MT—Thisweek WildEarth Guardians defended quiet winter landscapes that provideimportant habitat for wolverine, lynx, grizzly, and big game from snowmobiles onthe Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest. Guardians filed an objection to theU.S. Forest Service’s decision to allow extensive snowmobile use across theforest’s 3.35 million acres.

“Unfettered snowmobile use on our public lands disrupts thequiet forest landscapes that provide connected habitat for wolverine, grizzlybears and Canadian lynx,” said MarlaNelson, Rewilding Attorney at WildEarth Guardians. “Quiet,connected habitat on the Beaverhead-Deerlodge is essential to wildlifesurvival—especially in winter months when animals are highly vulnerable.”

The ForestService’s decision is a response to WildEarth Guardians’ win last year in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Guardians challengedthe agency’s prior proposal to allow snowmobiling on more than 60% of theforest. The court was clear when it returned the proposal to the agency forfixing: theForest Service needs to revise how it manages snowmobiles on the forest tominimize impacts to natural resources, wildlife, and quiet uses.

Despite that direction, the Forest Service proposed to make nochanges from its original proposal, once again allocating more than 60% of theforest to snowmobiles.

The decision would allow snowmobiles on over two millionacres, including important wolverine denning habitat, grizzly bear denninghabitat, lynx habitat, and high value winter habitat for big game. Winter is atime when species are surviving on limited reserves, making wildlife highlyvulnerable to human disturbance.

“We areextremely troubled that the Forest Service is choosing to ignore clear directionfrom the court,” said Sarah McMillan, Senior Staff Attorney for WildEarthGuardians. “The ‘thrillcraft’ culture of backcountry snowmobiling poses a majorthreat to the quiet wildness on the Beaverhead-Deerlodge that wolverine,grizzly, and lynx depend on for survival. It’s well past time for the ForestService to rein in the damage from snowmobiles by creating a fair, balanced wintertravel plan that protects wildlife.”

Guardians’ objection outlines how the Forest Service’s decision failsto comply with the Ninth Circuit’s ruling, and suggests fixes.

WildEarthGuardians is a nonprofit environmental organization dedicated to protecting andrestoring the wildlife, wild places, wild rivers and health of the AmericanWest.


Other Contact
Sarah McMillan, 406-549-3895, smcmillan@wildearthguardians.org
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