Heads up! It is Forest Service special use permit time again. Some of you may recall the kerfuffle over this last year, particularly when it came to guided ATV tours. There are a few more requests this year. There is a May 12 deadline for responses.
Here is an extract from a very useful note sent by Rob Davies, Hungry Horse/Glacier View District Ranger, that provides more focus on the projects affecting the North Fork . . .
This is a fairly large list of proposals for this summer. We are at the start of an open public comment period. Comment period closes May 12th. No decisions have been made at this point and we are seeking comments and concerns. This is being released to the local media today. Maps and descriptions have been posted on our web site.
The proposed Recreation Events and proposed guiding that would affect the North Fork area are:
Adventure Cycling Tours
Bike Adventure Bike tours
Pancake Ride bicycle event
Spotted Dog Guided bike tours
Snow Bike Nation (e-bikes)
Other than potential e-bike guiding on open FS motorized roads, and van shuttles (Whitefish Shuttle) delivering people to trail heads or just providing van tours, there are no motorized activities proposed such as UTV/ATV guiding in the North Fork.
Thank you for your interest and please respond through the official process outlined on our web site if you have concerns.
NW Adventures, ATV Guiding, I have decided to not issue a permit in the North Fork based on comments received during scoping. This company will still be permitted and operate on the West side of the Whitefish divide with one exception, they will be allowed to take clients to Red Meadow Lake and depart back to the West. They will not be allowed to travel beyond Red Meadow Lake and they will not be able to take clients to Red Meadow Lake on weekends or Holidays. Due to the COVID situation they are not expected to have as many clients as they were hoping for in their proposal.
Whitefish Shuttles. Van tours and livery service to several trail heads, short hikes and bike tour in the North Fork will be permitted. They expect much reduced numbers of clients and trips due to the COVID situation.
Cycling House, Bicycling tours cancelled due to COVID.
Adventure Cycling, Bicycle tours, cancelled due to COVID.
Spotted Dog Cycles: Bicycle tours cancelled due to COVID.
Two of the five permits that were proposed in The North Fork will be issued this year, and they are only valid for 1 season. The proponents would have to reapply if they wish to operate next year.
For those of you interested in more information about the Forest Service special use permits being considered for touring and guiding in the North Fork, Rob Davies passed along a very useful “summary of the routes, maps, dates, and service days that folks asked about at the meeting last Tuesday night.“ (Note that Rob must be working some long hours. I got his email a little after 930pm yesterday evening.)