ALERT: Kapka Butte Sno-Park Scoping Period

SAWS Action Alert

Comment Deadline: February 1, 2009

Email to the Forest Service:

Subject Line Must Contain:┬á “Kapka Scoping Comments”



Forest ServiceÔÇÖs Proposed Action:┬á The Forest Service is proposing to build a new sno-park near Kapka Butte to provide more high elevation parking for winter recreationists along an established snowplowing route.┬á The proposed facility would provide for a mix of vehicle parking, including vehicles towing trailers and some slots designed for smaller vehicles.┬á The proposed parking facility would include approximately 70 slots for vehicles with trailers, and 40 slots for non-trailer vehicles. Trail links to existing snowmobile trail #45 (.2 mile), a Nordic trail to AC/DC shelter (1.8 miles), a snowshoe trail to the top of Kapka Butte (.8 mile), and groomed non-motorized trails for use with dogs off leash (7.4 miles) would be constructed and maintained as part of this proposal.

SAWS Position:┬á SAWS believes that the expansion of the existing Dutchman Sno-Park is in the best interest of snowmobilers. Dutchman is the smallest sno-park in the Mt. Bachelor area, at the highest elevation, with the longest season, and greatest demand.┬á Snowmobilers need improved and continued access to the north side of Cascade Lakes Highway.┬á A brand new sno-park (Kapka Butte) at a lower elevation on the south side of the highway will do very little to alleviate the current access issues in the area.┬á Access to the Moon Mountain high country and Elk Lake Resort from Kapka Butte Sno-Park will have to go through “Lamberts Crossing” which has a southern exposure and turns to dirt very early in the season. Additionally, SAWS feels that if Kapka is built and Dutchman becomes a limited use sno-park, thus leaving all the motorized access sno-parks on the south side of Cascade Lakes Highway, then the non-motorized advocates may use that to further strengthen their position to close more riding areas on the north side of the highway (Moon Country/Tumalo).┬á The time and expense for the construction of Kapka Butte Sno-Park will do very little to help the existing parking problem except during the middle of the season.

While the Forest ServicesÔÇÖ proposal is regarding the construction of Kapka Butte Sno-Park in the Mt. Bachelor area, it does still have the possibility of impacting snowmobile access to Dutchman Sno-Park and the Tumalo Mountain area.┬á The Forest Service has agreed to LOOK AT ALL OUR COMMENTS about Dutchman and consider them along with the comments on Kapka Butte.┬á They have said they will consider what the public wants based on the letters they receive during the Kapka Butte scoping period.

There is a 30 day comment period for this proposal.  Please help maintain and improve this jewel in the Oregon Cascades for snowmobiling by submitting your comments to the Forest Service.  Snowmobilers have already lost too much riding area in the Dutchman-Tumalo region.

SAWS would like to remind you that form letters are not given much weight by government agencies so there needs to be some originality in your submitted comment letter, especially in the first paragraph.

Below are some points to assist you in preparing your comments (SAWS extends our appreciation to the Dutchman Taskforce for providing the following information).

  • The concept of another Sno-Park is a great idea.
  • Many winter recreation businesses in the area believe that Kapka is not the best plan.
  • Many individuals worked hard to develop a plan for what they felt was best for snowmobiling at the time and their efforts are appreciated. (This process began many years ago.)
  • Kapka Butte area is too low in elevation to serve snowmobilers for early and late season riding.
  • The Forest Service has recently indicated that they have no intention to close parking to snowmobilers at Dutchman “IF” Kapka is built.┬á This was changed from their previous plan to ban snowmobile use from Dutchman, due to the snowmobiling community reacting strongly during the summer of 2008 and demanding that it not be a part of the Kapka Butte Proposal. The Forest Service finally agreed to remove it from the plan.
  • All traffic from Bend to Kapka Butte┬áwill have to “cross” against traffic coming from┬áSunriver.┬á┬áAs traffic builds to enter Kapka it could end up blocking into the Cascade Lakes highway.
  • Kapka will promote (when the snow is┬átoo low at Lambert Crossing)┬ápeople to ride up along the highway and cross to Dutchman or ride on Mount Bachelor property to access the High Country.┬á This kind of action will bring negative attention to the snowmobiling community.
  • The expansion of Dutchman Sno-Park┬ámakes the most sense.
  • The majority of the park already exists.
  • A separate parking area can be created for Cross┬áCounty and Back Country Skiers. (They will fight this plan because they want the entire area for themselves)
  • Dutchman is already a HUB area that disperses backcountry users efficiently.
  • This is a┬áCommercial area already with Mount Bachelor right across the street.
  • DutchmanÔÇÖs expansion will provide Elk Lake Resort with the parking they desperately need during the peak winter recreation season.
  • Dutchman Snow Park is the first area to get snow and the last area to run out of snow.
  • The┬áextreme green┬áadvocates are fighting to get all of Tumalo Mountain for themselves.┬áThey want it for them selves and do not want us there in any capacity.

NOTE: SAWS and the Dutchman Taskforce believe that if snowmobilers are given Kapka then the skiers will go hard after Dutchman Snow Park to gain 100% access for their fight to get all of Tumalo.  Kapka may destroy any chance we have to save Dutchman and Tumalo.  Tumalo will most likely not be in the EIS and scoping letter, however Dutchman will not be either and we have been advised to go ahead and include it in the comments for Kapka.

This is another chance to make a difference.  Write your letters and let the Forest Service know what snowmobilers want for this area on our public lands.

Links to our previous SAWS Alerts on this issue:

Susie Rainsberry & Todd White
Snowmobile Alliance of Western States

Copyright ┬® 2009 Snowmobile Alliance of Western States. All Rights Reserved.

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