Snowmobiling Impacts

Research Studies Related to Snowmobiling Impacts Research Studies Related to Snowmobiling Impacts
Source: ACSA, Trails Work Consulting
Format: PDF
This compilation of scientific research provides web links or summaries from 160 studies related to snowmobiling impacts. These studies can also be viewed in the library section of this site where over 120 studies can also be downloaded.

Whether old or new, this research information has relevance to present day discussions about snowmobiling access. Important perspectives can be gained by following the progression of knowledge forward in time, from old to new, as impact topics gain perspective with new research that either dispels myths or better defines real impacts. This compilation represents the ‘best available information’ about snowmobiling impacts.

Multiple Use Management on Snowmobile Trails

Wheeled OHV Use

'Evaluation of ATV Use on Groomed Snowmobile Trails' report Evaluation of ATV Use on Groomed Snowmobile Trails
Source: IASA
Format: PDF
This project took an in-depth look at issues and effects related to the operation of ATVs on groomed snowmobile trails. Its intent was not to either encourage or discourage concurrent ATV use but rather to provide landowners, recreationists, trail providers, and political jurisdictions with better information to help them make objective local decisions. This report helps expand trail managers’ and local decision-makers’ knowledge about the potential effects of ATV use on groomed snowmobile trails during the winter season. All decisions regarding ATV use on groomed snowmobile trails are clearly reserved for implementation by local jurisdictions and local trail grooming managers consistent with their local priorities, conditions, and resources. In this vein it presents a summary of findings, detailed results from field testing, and twelve factors that should be considered before making decisions whether or not to allow concurrent snowmobile-ATV use on groomed snowmobile trails.

Tracked OHV Use

'Assessment of Tracked OHV Use on Groomed Snowmobile Trails' rreport Assessment of Tracked OHV Use on Groomed Snowmobile Trails
Source: ACSA, Trails Work Consulting
Format: PDF
This project collected information about existing or potential tracked OHV use on groomed snowmobile trails. It does not advocate for or against allowing any type of OHV use on groomed snowmobile trails; that clearly must be a local decision based upon local circumstances. The report includes: 1) a compilation of ‘snowmobile’ definitions currently used by U.S. and Canadian jurisdictions since this is a primary means by which tracked OHV use can be either allowed or prohibited, 2) findings from a trail manager survey that identified current winter OHV use trends, 3) field test observations that compared snowmobile and tracked OHV impacts, and 4) general recommendations to help guide local trail management policies.
'Management Factors to Consider for Concurrent Tracked OHV Use on Groomed Snowmobile Trails' report Management Factors to Consider for Concurrent Tracked OHV Use on Groomed Snowmobile Trails
Source: ACSA, Trails Work Consulting
Format: PDF
Allowing any type of OHV use on groomed snowmobile trails must be a local decision based upon local circumstances. Eight suggested best management factors are provided for trail managers to consider when deciding to either allow or disallow concurrent tracked OHV use on groomed snowmobile trails.
'Supplemental Assessment of Tracked OHV Use on Groomed Snowmobile Trails' report Supplemental Assessment of Tracked OHV Use on Groomed Snowmobile Trails
Source: ACSA, Trails Work Consulting
Format: PDF
This project builds upon information learned during the 2014 Assessment. It focuses on documenting tracked OHV operating characteristics and impacts in a wider variety of on and off-trail settings. It also broadened the tracked OHV database by observing and documenting tracked motorcycle operation on groomed snowmobile trails. It does not advocate for or against allowing any type of OHV use on groomed snowmobile trails—that clearly must be a local decision based upon local circumstances.

Findings from the 2014 and 2015 Assessments were integrated to develop ‘Management Considerations for Concurrent Tracked OHV Use on Groomed Snowmobile Trails to assist local trail managers, which are found in chapter two of this report.

Fat Tire Bicycle Use

'Fat Tire Bicycle Use on Snowmobile Trails: Background Information and Management Considerations' report Fat Tire Bicycle Use on Snowmobile Trails: Background Information and Management Considerations
Source: ACSA, Trails Work Consulting
Format: PDF
This report provides background information about fat tire bicycles, including perspectives from bicycling advocates involved with working to gain access to groomed snowmobile trails, to help snowmobile trail managers better understand potential issues and perspectives. The report does not advocate for or against allowing fat tire bicycle use on snowmobile trails since that is ultimately a local decision based upon local circumstances. Nine factors are suggested for trail managers to consider when deciding to either allow or disallow fat tire bike use on their local snowmobile trails.
'Management Factors to Consider Regarding Fat Tire Bicycle Use on Groomed Snowmobile Trails' report Management Factors to Consider Regarding Fat Tire Bicycle Use on Groomed Snowmobile Trails
Source: ACSA, Trails Work Consulting
Format: PDF
Allowing fat tire bicycle use on snowmobile trails is ultimately a local decision based upon local circumstances. Nine suggested best management factors are provided for trail managers to consider when deciding to either allow or disallow fat tire bike use on their local snowmobile trails.

U.S. Forest Service Access

Access Guide for Snowmobiling on Private and Public Lands PDF Implementation Guidance for the U.S. Forest Service Over-Snow Vehicle (OSV) Travel Management Rule
Source: ACSA, Trails Work Consulting
Format: PDF
The U.S. Forest Service issued an amended Travel Management Rule (TMR) – Subpart C related to over-snow vehicle (OSV) travel in January 2015. This OSV Travel Rule will affect all National Forest System lands where snowfall is adequate for OSV use to be allowed and requires that a system of roads, trails and areas be designated for motorized OSV use. Once roads, trails and areas are designated under Subpart C – all other OSV use is prohibited if not in accordance with the prescribed OSV use designations.

Subpart C is distinctly different than Subpart B of the TMR which applies to all other motor vehicles. Consequently it’s important to understand those differences – whether snowmobilers, Forest Service employees, or other trail managers and users – to properly apply the OSV rule on the ground to help ensure an appropriate range of desired snowmobile riding opportunities remain available going forward.

This resource includes a Power Point training program along with an implementation guidance manual developed by Trails Work Consulting and ACSA. It provides: 1) an overview of the OSV Travel Rule, 2) an outline of the ‘six steps’ in the Forest Service OSV designation process, 3) guidance on adapting the ‘4 E’s’ to effective OSV travel management, and 4) an Appendix containing the Forest Service Travel Management Rule – Subpart C in its entirety, along with other associated pertinent travel management regulations.
Access Guide for Snowmobiling on Private and Public Lands PDF Implementation Guidance for the U.S. Forest Service Over-Snow Vehicle (OSV) Travel Management Rule
Source: ACSA, Trails Work Consulting
Format: PowerPoint presentation
The U.S. Forest Service issued an amended Travel Management Rule (TMR) – Subpart C related to over-snow vehicle (OSV) travel in January 2015. This OSV Travel Rule will affect all National Forest System lands where snowfall is adequate for OSV use to be allowed and requires that a system of roads, trails and areas be designated for motorized OSV use. Once roads, trails and areas are designated under Subpart C – all other OSV use is prohibited if not in accordance with the prescribed OSV use designations.

Subpart C is distinctly different than Subpart B of the TMR which applies to all other motor vehicles. Consequently it’s important to understand those differences – whether snowmobilers, Forest Service employees, or other trail managers and users – to properly apply the OSV rule on the ground to help ensure an appropriate range of desired snowmobile riding opportunities remain available going forward.

This resource includes a PowerPoint training program along with an implementation guidance manual developed by Trails Work Consulting and ACSA. It provides: 1) an overview of the OSV Travel Rule, 2) an outline of the ‘six steps’ in the Forest Service OSV designation process, 3) guidance on adapting the ‘4 E’s’ to effective OSV travel management, and 4) an Appendix containing the Forest Service Travel Management Rule – Subpart C in its entirety, along with other associated pertinent travel management regulations.

Trail Grooming

Toptips for snowmobile trail grooming Top Tips for Effective Trail Grooming presentation
Source: ACSA, Trails Work Consulting
Format: PowerPoint presentation
This PowerPoint training program was developed by Trails Work Consulting and ACSA to help grooming managers and groomer operators be adaptive to changing snowmobile trail grooming needs. It outlines numerous top grooming tips and includes illustrative photos, video clips, and detailed presenter notes.
Toptips for snowmobile trail grooming Top Tips for Effective Trail Grooming presentation Notes
Source: ACSA, Trails Work Consulting
Format: PDF
This PowerPoint training program was developed by Trails Work Consulting and ACSA to help grooming managers and groomer operators be adaptive to changing snowmobile trail grooming needs. It outlines numerous top grooming tips and includes illustrative photos, video clips, and detailed presenter notes.
'Best Management Practices for Adaptive Trail Grooming' report Best Management Practices for Adaptive Trail Grooming
Source: ACSA, Trails Work Consulting
Format: PDF
These Best Management Practices (BMPs) were developed by Trails Work Consulting and ACSA to help trail managers be adaptive to changing snowmobile trail grooming needs. They focus on overall trail grooming objectives, fleet management principles for grooming programs, the importance of off-season storage and maintenance, managing grooming operations, and controlling the most common wasteful grooming practices.
'Guidelines for Snowmobile Trail Groomer Operator Training' report' Guidelines for Snowmobile Trail Groomer Operator Training
Source: IASA
Format: FORMAT
a resource guide for trail grooming managers and equipment operators. This resource guide provides guidelines for:
  • Grooming recreational snowmobile trails to help improve the quality of trails and the effectiveness of grooming efforts and expenditures
  • Training snowmobile trail groomer operators on the proper operation and maintenance of grooming equipment; proper trail grooming objectives, principles, and practices; and trail grooming safety issues
  • Increasing community awareness of snowmobile trail grooming requirements and practices, including the need for the public to allow proper set up time on freshly groomed trails and safe operating procedures for snowmobilers when encountering groomers on the trail
The manual's seven chapters cover an introduction to trail grooming; an overview of grooming equipment; managing grooming operations, equipment and safety; operating grooming equipment; maintaining grooming equipment; recordkeeping; and recommendations for groomer operator certification.
Groomer Operator Training Resource Guide Groomer Operator Training Resource Guide
Source: IASA
Format: PowerPoint
This series of over 500 Power Point training slides has been produced to accompany Chapters 1 - 6 of Guidelines for Snowmobile Trail Groomer Operator Training.
Trail Grooming Awareness brochure Trail Grooming Awareness brochure
Source: IASA
Format: PDF
Tips for encountering grooming equipment on trails.

Acknowledgement and Terms

The Snowmobile Safety and Access Resources Information Center was developed and is operated by the American Council of Snowmobile Associations (ACSA) with funding provided by the Recreational Trails Program administered by the U.S. Department of Transportation – Federal Highway Administration (FHWA).

Inquiries can be sent to info@snowmobileinfo.org.