The misconception about snowmobilers | AspenTimes.com

The misconception about snowmobilers

Dear Editor:

My name is Sean Martin, and I am the president of the local snowmobile club, The Mount Sopris Rec Riders. Our club has been in existence for more than 35 years and has been in Carbondale for that entire time. Members of our club were instrumental in developing the Sunlight-to-Powderhorn trail (SP Trail), and we still maintain more than 50 miles of this trail. We also maintain the Marion Gulch, Sunlight, East Divide, West Divide and Muddy Creek trail heads as well as the whole Fourmile/Thompson Creek trail system.

We have a very broad range of members from the very young to the very old to the disabled, plus all those in between. We are a club that promotes family, fun and responsible stewardship of the land. We continue to treasure and maintain these lands so future generations can have the opportunity to experience them the way we have. Snowmobiling is an experience that excludes no one.

We are one of 10 clubs that will be directly affected by this proposal. There are 10,000 registered snowmobiles in the affected areas of this proposal and more than 34,000 snowmobiles registered in the state of Colorado. This is way bigger than a few snowmobiles in Carbondale.

There seems to be a huge misconception that all we do is ride the trails. The trails are just a means to get us started, nothing more. The true snowmobiling experience begins when we turn off the trail and head out into the backcountry. This is were we truly ride, this is where it happens. A snowmobile can go everywhere in the winter that a horse can go in the summer. That is why many who have horses also have snowmobiles. It gives us a chance to experience the forest year-round. It’s no accident that so many snowmobilers are also cowboys.

Right now as it is proposed, we snowmobile in more than 350,000 acres of the Hidden Gems Wilderness proposal. To say we are unaffected by this proposal is another huge misconception; this proposal encompasses some of our most treasured backcountry and riding areas.

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Sean Martin

president, Mount Sopris Rec Riders