New Snowmobile Rules To Take Effect In Arizona Wilderness Areas

By Steve Shadley
Published: Monday, February 2, 2015 - 5:05am

Snowmobile enthusiasts will probably notice some new rules soon in Arizona’s high country. The U.S. Forest Service has made a policy change after it lost a lawsuit.

At the end of February Snowmobilers can ride on specifically marked trails on U.S. Forest Service land in Arizona and other states. 

The new rule comes about after the Forest Service lost a suit filed by an Idaho environmental group that claimed snowmobiles are tearing up environmentally sensitive wilderness areas. 

Kyung Willis is a recreation planner with the Forest Service in New Mexico and she said the policy requires new maps and still needs public input.

"Once we go through the planning process with public involvement, in coordination with local, state and other government agencies, there will be designations for where people can use their over snow vehicles and where they won’t be able to,” Willis said.

A snowmobile club member in the White Mountains of eastern Arizona said she welcomes the new rule but denies that local snowmobilers have gone off trails damaging the environment.