Winter Recreation Planning

the good, the bad, and the ugly

These case studies reveal a number of lessons learned that will be valuable in future winter travel management planning efforts.

by Winter Wildlands Alliance

The U.S. Forest Service has recently introduced a new rule to guide winter travel management planning on National Forests throughout the country. In the past, winter travel planning has been inconsistent and rare. However, there have been some great winter travel and recreation management plans developed across the West. At the same time, there are examples of where winter travel management is desperately needed, and where people have attempted, and failed, to solve user conflicts and bring balance to the backcountry through travel planning. This document presents various case studies that demonstrate the broad range of travel plans and planning attempts across National Forest lands.

While travel planning is not a cure-all for resolving user conflicts, a mandatory winter travel management planning process that is consistent across all National Forest lands will undoubtedly help to bring certainty and balance to the backcountry. These case studies highlight what has been proven to work, and not work, in winter travel planning and should serve as guidance for future efforts in this regard.

Attached document published July 2018

About the Author


Winter Wildlands Alliance was founded to represent backcountry skiers and human-powered recreation on America’s public lands. We are an alliance of grassroots organizers, environmental advocates, backcountry skiers and snowboarders, and individuals who are devoted to protecting, preserving, and sharing access to quiet places in the mountains.

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