Judge OKs Extended Snowmobiling Season in Flathead

By Beacon Staff

A federal judge who in 2008 banned extended-season snowmobiling in the Flathead National Forest has dissolved the injunction.

U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy ruled Jan. 27 that a new biological opinion issued by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service complies with the Endangered Species Act and that “the available science does not show that snowmobiling affects denned grizzly bears.” He also said spring snowmobiling will not reduce grizzlies’ survival and recovery.

Molloy ruled in 2008 that the forest’s road-density rules for grizzly bears apply to snowmobiling as well, agreeing with the main argument in a lawsuit filed by the environmental groups Swan View Coalition and Friends of the Wild Swan.