This year Inyo National Forest staff plans to increase snowmobile enforcement in areas where the vehicles are not allowed.
Forest Service officials plan to use a plane, along with ground patrols this winter to monitor closed areas for illegal snow machine activity such as designated wilderness areas.
Areas that will be heavily patrolled include: designated Wilderness and Research Natural Areas, Mammoth Lakes Basin, Devils Postpile National Monument, Obsidian Dome cross-country ski trails, Shady Rest cross-country ski trails, and the area west of the G-trail from June Lake Junction south to the Glass Creek Hill, according to Forest Service staff.
ForestOffiicials say that the closures are there to protect the wilderness experience and provide a place for people to get away to, but snowmobile tracks show that many riders venture into these closed areas each season. Riding in a Wilderness or closed area is a Federal and State offense carrying fines up to $5,000 and/or six months in jail, in addition to possible seizure of the snowmobiles.
Snowmobiles can be a lot of fun, but with all that speed, it is easy to get yourself into a closed area. Forest Officials says that it is the riders responsibility to know where these closed or restricted areas are located and their boundaries. Major winter trailheads and launching points have maps showing these restricted areas. If in doubt, check with the local Ranger Station or pick up a free Winter Recreation Trail map at the Mammoth Welcome Center.
There are miles of snow covered roads and play areas that are safe and legal to snowmobilers in the Mammoth and Mono Lake areas including roughly 75,000 acres of open expanse east of Hwy. 395 with a variety of terrain from wide-open meadows to forested areas for beginners and experts.
For more information, contact Lisa Walker at 760-647-3031.