Feeling the urge to get out and snowmobile this winter? The Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest has been working with local snowmobile clubs that have begun to groom snowmobile trails on the Butte, Jefferson and Pintler Ranger Districts.
Snow conditions have improved and weekly snowmobile grooming is now being conducted under agreements with the Anaconda and Deer Lodge Snowmobile Clubs, and Mining City Trail Riders to provide many winter snowmobile opportunities.
There are approximately 115 miles of groomed routes located east of Deer Lodge and north of Butte, and 90 miles of routes are groomed in the Georgetown Lake area. Most of the groomed snowmobile trails are located on forest development roads or trails that are closed to wheeled motorized vehicles Dec. 15 through April 1 by a forest order.
The Forest Service, in conjunction with Jefferson County, closes several roads to full-size vehicles including Lowland Road #442, Boulder River Road #82, Hail Columbia #9485 and American Gulch #674 through April 1. Visitors are reminded that closures are still in effect across the forest even though snow levels are low this year.
Maximize your safety when recreating outdoors this winter. During winter months, be aware of snow conditions, the potential for avalanche danger, and carry and know how to use proper backcountry equipment including avalanche beacon, shovel, and probe while recreating. Before heading out, you can check snow conditions at http://www.missoulaavalanche.org/current-advisory/ , or http://www.mtavalanche.com/.
Pick up a map for the part of the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest that interests you. Three maps cover the entire 3.3-million-acre National Forest and cost $10 each available at local Forest Service offices and merchants, or you can order maps online at http://www.nationalforeststore.com. Maps can also be downloaded to your mobile device through the Avenza PDF Maps App, which is available as a free download from iTunes and the Android Play Store. Forest Service visitor maps cost $4.99 each.
Snowmobile maps are available from any Ranger District office. For additional information contact the Butte Ranger District at (406) 494-2147; the Jefferson Ranger District in Whitehall at (406) 287-3223; Pintler Ranger District in Philipsburg at (406) 859-3211; or the Deer Lodge Work Center at (406) 846-1770.