More ATV damage

Dear Editor:

Ann McCreary did her usual fine job on her “over-snow vehicles” article (July 2) — except she failed to note that snowmobile impacts are not limited to the winter.

How can that be? Well, for one example, the Tonasket Ranger District signed a cooperative trail maintenance agreement in about 2008 with one leading local snowmobile group. That agreement allows the members to use all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) in the summer and early fall to do “trail maintenance.” That means running ATVs for miles across forests and meadows to clear the few blowdowns and deadfall that would hinder their running up their thoroughfares in mid-winter.

I am not making this up. I spent two days walking (can you even imagine that — and I am 65) one of their principal snowmobile routes to photo-document the damage from ATV use — an up-to-annual occurrence allowed by the co-op agreement.

Your readers should take a walk down routes designated by the U.S. Forest Service for snowmobiles for a real education — especially ones that have streams and meadows along the way. This is timely, as the Forest Service is now gathering input on travel management issues and site specifics. Links can be found at the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest website:

Bob Pfeifer, Tonasket