CUSTER GALLATIN NATIONAL FOREST

WEST YELLOWSTONE – The Hebgen Lake Ranger District in the Custer Gallatin National Forest this year has seen a sharp increase in illegal snowmobile traffic northwest of Yellowstone National Park, in lower Wapiti Creek within the Taylor Fork drainage. Moose as well as other ungulate species frequent lower Wapiti Trail, a critical source for their winter-range forage.

Snowmobilers must stay on the designated groomed route from Lower Wapiti Trail up to 2.5 miles above Upper Wapiti Trailhead. Travel off this designated route in lower Wapiti Creek is prohibited year round to over-snow vehicles. The area is essential winter range for moose, elk and deer.

Excellent snowmobile riding areas exist in Carrot, Sage and Sunlight basins, which are all accessed by the Big Sky Snowmobile Trail from Lower Wapiti Trailhead. Riders are reminded to stay on the trail until they are out of the closure area.

“It is critical for snowmobilers to know before they go where area closures exist,” said Todd Stiles, Hebgen Lake Ranger District Natural Resources Specialist. “The designated route that riders need to stay on in Lower Wapiti is well marked. If riders have any questions about where the closure area ends … the district would be happy to explain the closure area in depth.”

Visit fs.usda.gov/gallatin to download color over-snow Motor Vehicle Use Maps. Hardcopy versions are free at local ranger districts.