This year's Hill Climb event was successful for BlueRibbon in memberships and donations while providing an outstanding location for outreach on issues effecting snowmobilers.
Again this year the Jackson Snow Devils provided BlueRibbon a booth near the food vendor area at the Hill Climb event.
At our booth I discussed the implementation of the New Yellowstone Winter Use Plan and other snowmobile related subjects like the Winter Wildlands legal action against the Forest Service in Idaho over the OHV Rule and, of course, concerns about potential new Wilderness areas in the region.
The event was very warm this year and created very high attendance! The temperatures Thursday through Sunday were a range of 35 to 42 with light winds. The total crowd for the four day event was up, with the Jackson Snow Devils Club estimating about 12,000 people in attendance for the various events.
For my main outreach I handed out information on the Final New Winter Use Plan for Yellowstone National Park and its new preferred alternative. From a positive standpoint, the new preferred alternative has the potential of having enough of a foundation to create a very good plan. In the Preferred Alternative #4 the Park Service has increased the number of non-commercially guided groups from one daily to four that can access the Park from each major gate. In addition, the plan calls for increased snowmobile access to the Park with up to 500 total entries on peak days.
What is left in the Winter Use process? We are beginning one of the final steps of the Winter Use Planning process, and BlueRibbon is very involved in that process, which is to develop an "Adaptive Management Plan". That Plan will evaluate how the preferred alterative #4 is working in the Park in winter starting in the 2014-2015 season. This "Adaptive Management Plan" will be completed before the 2014-2015 season begins. Note, there will be a public comment period to provide for public input to the Adaptive Plan this summer. To stay informed on the Winter Use Issue visit our dedicated website (www.saveyellowstonepark.org).
In addition to the Yellowstone and other snowmobile issues, I talked to snowmobilers from across the country about becoming a BlueRibbon member; the results, several of the folks joined as new Coalition members and many interested snowmobilers also made financial contributions to the Coalition.
Another highlight of the four days was being interviewed by the roving infield announcer and publicly being thanked for BlueRibbon's efforts in Yellowstone and for keeping the National Forest open to snowmobilers. This interview was on Saturday when thousands of spectators were present.
In closing, I would like to thank the Jackson Hole Snow Devils Snowmobile Club, who puts on the World Championship Hill Climb each year, for providing BlueRibbon Coalition with a free booth at the event again this year.
The BlueRibbon Coalition (BRC) is a national non-profit organization that champions responsible recreation and encourages a strong conservation ethic and individual stewardship, while providing leadership in efforts to keep outdoor recreation alive and well -- all sports; all trails. With members in all 50 states, BRC is focused on building enthusiast involvement with organizational efforts through membership, outreach, education and collaboration among recreationists. 1-800-BLUERIB - www.BlueRibbonCoalition.Org.