The Sublette County Journal
Volume 4, Number 32 - April 6, 2000
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Lynx Guidelines May Not Impact National Forest Snowmobiling
Many in the snowmobile industry have been apprehensive about the probable listing of the Canadian lynx and the subsequent restrictions on snowmobiling in the Bridger-Teton National Forest that could have accompanied the listing. However, based on lynx conservation agreement between the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the U.S. Forest Service, recreational snowmobiling will not be significantly impacted or restricted by lynx protections.
The USFWS and Forest Service agreement is documented in a December 1999 publication titled, "Canadian lynx Conservation Assessment and Strategy." After several pages of background information, the document outlines specific "objectives" and "standards" to be followed in protecting the lynx.
Addressing snowmobiling specifically, the document restricts the creation of new groomed snowmobile trails or designated "snowmobile play areas" on the forest. It does not limit or attempt to restrict the number of snowmobiles operating in the forest.
Thus, as long as no additional groomed snowmobiling trails or designated "snowmobile play areas" are created, recreational snowmobiling on the forest will continue unaffected, and numbers of sleds will not be restricted.
Forest Service biologists currently estimate that there are approximately 5 lynx living in the Wyoming Range of Sublette County. They believe that compacted snow trails allow coyotes, bobcats and other predators to move into deep-snow lynx habitat during the winters and compete with the lynx for prey.
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