Motorized use restrictions at the Hellroaring ski hut

Share experiences and news about hiking, peak climbing, pack-rafting, ski/snowboard mountaineering, or whatever in Greater Yellowstone.

Moderator: TomTuriano

Post Reply

Motorized use restrictions at the Hellroaring ski hut

Post by Hellroaringskiadventures »

Hi Tom,
This is a letter I sent to my email list concerning some issues that are cooking right now. Your email got bounced back, so hopefully I can post it here and bring it to your attention. I hope all is well.

Hello All,

Hopefully the first dustings on the peaks have gotten everybody's teeth gnashing as loudly as mine. I smell an early fall and while it always makes me happy to see the spring, I breathe a sigh of relief when the dog days of August finally end.

Some big things are happening right now for the future of Hellroaring Canyon as a ski destination, and I could really use everybody who cares about the place to pitch in 10 minutes of their time and a stamp.

The Beaverhead/Deerlodge National Forest issued their revised Forest Plan in June of this year. Their new plan has finally, officially closed the upper portion of Hellroaring Canyon to winter motorized use! Everybody who has been up there probably experienced the motorized mayhem that Mt. Jeff and Reas peak have become. The new plan will change that and preserve all that good snow for skiers. That terrain is critical for the survival and expansion of the ski hut, and it's great terrain to ski. The closure will also contain the snowmachining to the Idaho side of the Continental Divide, and reduce the noise pollution from their infernal machines. It is worth taking the time to write an impassioned plea to the Forest Service to stick with the new plan and not cave in to the motorized use groups outraged howling. The Forest Service has already received 200 letters opposing the new plan specifically on the Hellroaring issue, but the vast majority of them were a form letter pushed out by the Blue Ribbon Coalition. Form letters no longer count in this game! The FS wants handwritten letters (they also take e-mail) specifying specific issues, places, and personal experiences to back up your opinion, and they score the letters based on those and other criteria. You do not have to write an opus, a one paragraph email or one page letter is plenty but some things it should touch on include: snowmachines ruin snow for skiers, during your stay at Hellroaring the largest complaint you had (hopefully) was the presence of snowmachines and their effects on your experience skiing, if you have never been to Hellroaring than say that you damn well don't want any snow machines around when you get there, you had an expectation of a wilderness experience that was denied to you, and any other ideas along these lines that you consider important.

This is not a done deal!!! There is a lot going on behind the scenes politically, and the people in the Forest Service who are pushing this change are in a minority and taking a lot of heat. Public comments are what is going to vindicate them. Please take the time to write something, because if I can convince enough of you we can actually make something positive happen in this world.

If you care about the motorized/non motorized issue and would like to be involved in more than just saving Hellroaring, please visit my non-profits website: We promote an equitable split of public lands for all type of recreation including motorized users, but we refuse to share trails and terrain. We consider the impacts from motorized use too disruptive to the values of the other human users of public land. We do this through establishing relationships with the public land agencies, energizing our membership, providing constructive comments in both the planning and implementing phases of land management, taking a more balanced view on the issue than any other environmental or motorized use group, and doing nothing more than sticking up for other people in the backcountry. Sign up to be a member on the web site, membership is completely free, and we will be distributing our analysis of the entire Beaverhead Deerlodge plan to our members soon. There is a lot more going on then just Hellroaring, the Tobacco Roots, Pioneers, Snowcrest, Gravellys, and the Big Hole are all on the line as well, and we are all going to have to live with the decisions that get made in the next couple of months for a long time.

Even if you don't care about all that, please write about Hellroaring. The deadline is October 31'st, but you should probably just do it right now while you're thinking of it. The address is:

Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest
420 Barrett St.
Dillon, MT 59725
att: revision

Or, e-mail your comments quickly and painlessly to:

Thank you all for taking the time to do this, and if you can forward this message to the other folks in your group that would really help me out. For many of you I only have one contact for the entire group, but hopefully everyone would like to pitch in and make this happen.

pray for snow,

Tim Bennett
Hellroaring Ski Adventures
(406) 570-4025 cell
Post Reply