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Snowmobile groups in two states sue over federal plan

May 8, 2009
Filed under Features

Snowmobile groups in Wyoming and Washington state filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The federal government aims to designate 39,000 square miles in six states as critical habitat for the threatened Canada lynx, according to the Associated Press.

Snowmobile groups are concerned that the designation could curtail snowmobiling on the Continental Divide Trail, which goes through northwestern Wyoming, says Matt Mead, a spokesman for the Washington state association.

He said the trail is “one of our premier destination areas” and draws snowmobilers from around the country.

Shawn Sartorius, the lead lynx biologist for the wildlife service in Helena, Mont., says his agency hasn’t identified snowmobiling as a problem in lynx habitat and didn’t expect trail maintenance or new trails to be problems.

The new designation was a considerable increase from the original designation of fewer than 1,850 square miles in three states. Several environmental groups, however, have said the increase wasn’t enough and filed notice in March, contending that the designation covered too little of Montana and did not include parts of Washington and Colorado.

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