CARIBOU AERIAL MONITORING PROGRAM

Operating under the assumption that a picture is indeed worth a thousand words, SCA began, five years ago, an aerial monitoring program that has been instrumental in photo-documenting the increasing onslaught of motorized "thrill-craft" into once-pristine wildlife habitat.

The hundreds of aerial photographs, compiled over a period of years is compelling evidence of the impacts such machines are having on the Selkirk Mountains threatened mountain caribou population for instance... the most endangered large mammal in North America.

Introduced into court, and buttressed by the expert testimony of highly respected caribou research biologists, our photographs played a major role in last year's court victory which resulted in protection of crucial habitat for caribou as well as the creation of a critical migration corridor or connecting link from Canada to the southern boundary of the US portion of the Woodland Caribou Recovery Area.

The pressure to reopen portions of the restricted area to snowmobiles will not soon end however as the Forest Service, responsive to motorized thrill seekers and individuals with an economic interest in expanding motorized recreation in caribou habitat, will almost certainly attempt to undermine the court ruling by crafting a new Winter Travel Plan that will cater to snowmobilers at the expense of caribou and other wildlife.  The draft Winter Travel Plan should be out for public review in late August or early fall.  You are urged to review and submit comments back to the Forest Service.  Your involvement counts!

SCA, in concert with the Idaho Conservation League and Advocates for the West, and armed with this winter's photographs, is prepared to head back to court with irrefutable proof of continued illegal motorized incursions into closed areas.

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