WA SAWS Members,
I wish I could say I am shocked by this proposal, but unfortunately I am not too surprised by much of anything this state government does anymore. Disgusted yes, but shocked no.
Please submit a letter to your WA State Legislative Representatives today and inform them you oppose this very bad idea.┬á And as attempting as it may be, do not be rude, as you need to try and convince them to support our snowmobile fund, and not alienate them against us.
I┬ásometimes hear a few snowmobilers say they do not use groomed trails, so they could care less about paying for them. But unless you can ride from your property, these funds also pay for plowing of our sno-parks, and without sno-parks, most snowmobilers will not have a place to park to enjoy the backcountry. Parking alongside the road in many places is illegal and will reward you a fine or even your vehicle being towed.
I wish I could also say I am shocked by the US Forest Service proposal in the North Fork Teanaway area east of Cle Elum┬áto recommend a large area popular for snowmobiling as recommended wilderness in the current Forest Plan Revision in Wenatchee National Forest, but unfortunately I am not surprised by the amount of land the federal government continues to close to snowmobile use across the western United States.
At this rate, snowmobilers will soon need to become rebel outlaws in order to continue to enjoy the form of recreation we so enjoy, or give up this pleasure altogether.
Below is some good information from the Washington State Snowmobile Association with more details about this issue. Thank you for the information WSSA. There is not much more I can add to their alert, so I wonÔÇÖt.
Washington Rep ÔÇô Snowmobile Alliance of Western States
Our dedicated Snowmobile Fund is likely going to be swept.┬á (In addition, the NOVA and marine funds are in the same position.)
While our outlook appears bleak, our Associate Members hold the ace up our sleeveÔÇª
Many legislators donÔÇÖt think the impact of raiding our Fund is significant to snowmobilers.┬á When looking at the ÔÇÿbig pictureÔÇÖ, they feel our needs are overshadowed by larger budget problems they need to fix.┬á But while they may hold this point of view, they are sympathetic towards business owners, or maybe more specifically, the tax revenue they provide; they donÔÇÖt want to lose this money.┬á They understand lost jobs means more financial burdens on social programs.┬á We need to help them connect the dots.
- Tell them snowmobiling is a significant economic driver for many Washingtonians in the winter months.
- The economic impact of snowmobiling in Washington is estimated at $115,000,000 per year.┬á Snowmobile-related tax collections amount to $6M to $8M per year. ┬á(This does not include B&O taxes on business related activity.)
- Restaurants, lodging, gas stations and other snowmobile-related sales will be significantly reduced.
- Small rural communities dependent on snowmobiling will suffer the most.
- Remind them the Snowmobile Account is a dedicated account, paid for by snowmobilers with our registration dollars and a portion of the fuel tax for fuel used in snowmobiles, for trail grooming, sno-park plowing & upkeep, safety & education and law enforcement; we donÔÇÖt receive any General Fund money.
- Sweeping our Fund means virtually no snowmobiling opportunities in WA next season.┬á (Snowmobiling is not much fun without groomed trails.┬á Impossible with no legal place [sno-park] to park and unload.
- Let them know most snowmobilers will quit registering their snowmobiles in Washington and will ride in British Columbia, Idaho and/or Oregon instead, taking their spending and resultant tax revenues out of state.
- Ask them why snowmobilers would ever entrust the state with their registration dollars in the future if the legislature steals the funds and no services are provided?
- Remind them that fuel purchased (for tow vehicles and snowmobiles) out of state will negatively impact the Transportation Fund as well.
- Sales of Discover Passes and Sno-Park Permits will be lost.
Your legislatorÔÇÖs contact info can be found here:┬á http://apps.leg.wa.gov/DistrictFinder/