Mike Kent: Cart before the horse


The parking lots on Rabbit Ears Pass should not be expanded to allow more snowmobilers until the Forest Service can enforce the existing nonmotorized boundary. Obviously, there is a new demand on parking spaces for snowmobilers with the explosive growth that this activity has experienced, and expanded lots would help relieve this congestion. But there still is a problem — a very old problem that has yet to be adequately resolved.

It’s the same old song and dance that skiers have been “complaining” about for years. The nonmotorized boundaries are not being respected or observed, and snowmobilers continue to trespass on the limited amount of accessible terrain available to backcountry skiers. What limited resources the Forest Service has to resolve these conflicts is not working. There are no serious consequence for those rogue riders to keep out of the nonmotorized areas, and they continue to ride impudently. It still is obvious, as it always has been, that these “sledheads” know exactly where they are going and what they are doing.

Boundary signs have been destroyed and not replaced, and Forest Service law enforcement is woefully inadequate. Until there is a threat of serious monetary consequences, confiscation of snowmobiles and/or jail, this will be a continuing problem. To expand the parking lots to accommodate more snowmobilers will only exacerbate the problem. It’s simple numbers. Before money is spent on parking lots, money should be spent on more signs, more law enforcement and whatever else it takes to get a handle on the current and ongoing problem. Until that happens, smaller parking lots, not larger ones, seem to be the more logical answer.

Why spend money to bring in more snowmobilers when our public lands cannot even be managed in their current state? This is putting the cart before the horse. Again.

Mike Kent

Steamboat Springs


Harry Thompson 4 years, 3 months ago

The usual nonsense, this is two totally different issues. Where do these people come from?


Dan Edmiston 4 years, 3 months ago

User group conflicts...always a fun thing. Bottom line is, we both like untracked powder. The call of an untouched slope is often stronger than invisible boundary that makes that slope untouched. Despite signage and strongly worded rules there will always be those that choose to operate outside of the construct of designated use. Bigger, faster machines each year are probably going to lead to a lot of the motorized areas being tracked out quickly and the desire to zip over to the non-motorized area is going to get stronger.


Scott Wedel 4 years, 3 months ago

But if it has been decided that an area is nonmotorized and that rule is routinely violated then doesn't it make sense to at least come up with a better enforcement plan?

I don't think that expanded parking needs to be delayed until the enforcement problem is completely fixed. But I think it makes sense to expect that before increasing the number of snowmobiles that there is at least a better enforcement plan than the current ineffectual plan.


John St Pierre 4 years, 3 months ago

its an issue of enforcement.... which is almost non existent......... what is much more needed is some sort of warning for motorist about snowmobiles crossing the highway with impunity.. I have witnessed just this season alone several dart across while those unfamaliar w the road slam on their brakes or have near misses...... there is really no signage to warn of this......


Bret Marx 4 years, 3 months ago

" Before money is spent on parking lots, money should be spent on more signs, more law enforcement and whatever else it takes to get a handle on the current and ongoing problem."

Yes Mr. Kent. Spend more money on signs, I'm sure the forest service has an abundance of it now and more signs are always the answer. And more law enforcement. Just the kind of world I want to live in! Signs, signs everywhere signs....you know the rest.


john bailey 4 years, 3 months ago

bret, you took the words right outta my mouth. i like the sign that warns you about the stop sign ahead. 100 feet ahead..................waste much? oh thats right its the city........................


rhys jones 4 years, 3 months ago

John -- You are SO right. As the old adage goes -- All the "prevent" defense does is prevent you from winning. Sooner or later somebody is going to get open, especially when their QB has all day to find them. I'm hoping heads roll again this year; Defensive Coordinator has been a revolving door in Denver in recent years. Where's Joe Collier when you need him? We've got the players, if somebody competent would just call the plays. We can't blame the refs forever, sooner or later somebody is going to have to own up to their deficiencies.

Did you check out the GB/SF game on Fox? Troy Aikman and Joe Buck take the English language to a new low. "well-defensed" "you can't defense that" those idiots keep trying to make "defense" into a verb. I almost switched it off just for that. Professional announcers, butchering the language like that -- their college grades must have been gratuitous. Rant over.

Oh well, the football season had to end sooner or later anyway. Now we can turn our attention to a REAL sport: NBA. Makes the NFL look like slo-mo. Our Nuggets usually find a way to pull it out in the fourth quarter, damn the officials and full speed ahead. Their impromptu acrobatics are nothing short of awesome, the Miller-(whoever) lob dunks. Tonight the Warriors are in Denver, and that promises mucho fun.

When I was a kid in South Dakota, where winters are long and cold, and skiing is distant, b-ball and wrestling were the winter sports of choice (never got into hockey; both times I ice skated I sucked. Bad equipment didn't help). Nice warm indoor sports. Cold outside.

To end this digression and return it to some semblance of its original subject, I will just say I don't have a snow machine, and I don't ski when it's 0 or less -- old wimp, and this ain't my first season. I like sunny warm days and brown faces, but I don't like the raccoon look, so I raise my goggles on the way up the hill. March and April skiing is the BEST.

Go Nuggets!! They will provide much entertainment on cold nights, until the weather is nice again. Sorry 'bout the Broncos, those perpetual losers.


john bailey 4 years, 3 months ago

Rhys, yep , i let the bronco blood boil again, refugee from the elway years, but at least it finally paid off. oh well couple more days , i'll be back to normal. sorry but english was never my strong point or typin, nba , too full of rap.lol. only watch the playoffs, besides the nuggies haven'y been the same since alex english days and the white dude with the awesome 'stache.LOL holding out for the sun and fun for the mountain, collecting passes cause the nazis ain't getting a penny from me(watch the mod delete me for that phttttttss) don't say anthing bad towards the powers that be , right nicole. remember they are a just games, child games, its the money involved that make it all so wrong, yet the peeps keep paying to go see em play. who was it that turned down the big contract , cause he couldn't feed his umpteen kids, really , this is what we've become? beat ya spent my time in north dakota , probably 10 degrees colder .LOLOLOLOLOl (add a wink emoticon here) and yeah the broadcasters suck, thats why i listen to radio when possible, always liked dave logan, too bad he got railroaded out of mullen ,and they proved it too. hey you can stop now JB


rhys jones 4 years, 3 months ago

To paraphrase Charles Barkeley: You know it's dark days when the best golfer is black and the best rapper is white.


Requires free registration

Posting comments requires a free account and verification.