SUSANVILLE, Calif., January 7, 2016 – In anticipation of a wet winter, snowmobile and ski routes in Lassen National Forest will be off-limits to wheeled vehicles from January 7, 2016 through March 31, 2016. In addition, all vehicles with or without wheels are prohibited year-round in designated wilderness areas.
These restrictions are designed to ensure visitor safety and to protect natural resources. The ruts left by wheeled vehicles in the snow can create hazardous conditions for snowmobilers and skiers. In addition, precipitation can soften the ground and roadbeds, increasing the chance of wheeled vehicles getting stuck and causing resource damage.
“One reason people get stuck, especially on the groomed snowmobile trails, is because the surface looks like a road and is passable when temperatures are cold,” said Law Enforcement Officer Mike Cone. “But when the ground thaws slightly, or if the vehicle travels off the groomed section, it becomes high-centered and gets stuck.”
Violating road and trail closures is not only dangerous, it can also be costly. It could mean a hefty fine, and violators could also bear the cost of repairing damage to the trails.
With 400 miles of groomed trails, conditions permitting, Lassen National Forest has the largest snowmobile trail system in California.
"The past few winters have been disappointing for snowmobilers, cross-country skiers, and snowshoers,” said Dave Hays, Lassen National Forest Supervisor. “We are off to a more promising start this season, and we are working to ensure your safety and enjoyment of winter activities on the Forest."
While snowmobiling and other winter recreation activities can be fun and exciting, Lassen National Forest reminds visitors to be safe and observe the rules of the Forest:
- Always check the weather forecast ahead of time.
- Tell someone where you’re going and when you’ll be back.
- Never go out alone.
- Obtain a map of your destination and determine what areas are open to which activities.
- Wear a helmet, eye protection, and other safety gear when appropriate.
- Respect the environment and try not to disturb wildlife.
- Always use common sense and courtesy on the trails.
Lassen National Forest lies at the Crossroads of California, where the granite of the Sierra Nevada, the lava of the Cascades and the Modoc Plateau, and the sagebrush of the Great Basin meet. The Forest is managed for recreational access as well as timber and firewood, forage for livestock, water, minerals, and other natural resources.
The mission of the U.S. Forest Service, part U.S. Department of Agriculture, is to sustain the health, diversity and productivity of the nation's forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations. The agency manages 193 million acres of public land, provides assistance to state and private landowners, and maintains the largest forestry research organization in the world. Public lands the Forest Service manages contribute more than $13 billion to the economy each year through visitor spending alone. Those same lands provide 20 percent of the nation's clean water supply, a value estimated at $7.2 billion per year. The agency has either a direct or indirect role in stewardship of about 80 percent of the 850 million forested acres within the U.S., of which 100 million acres are urban forests where most Americans live.