Colorado snowmobile, ATV trail rental firms balk at delivery ban

Publish Date: 
Aug 29, 2012

FRISCO, Colo. – An ATV rental operator is considering suing the United States Forest Service (USFS) over a new policy that prohibits such companies from delivering ATVs and snowmobiles to customers at trailheads.

Two companies that drop off and pick up ATVs and snowmobiles at the Vail Pass summit parking area have received shut-down orders.

"We saw, this year, a huge increase in the frequency with which these businesses were delivering (vehicles to people)," White River National Forest ranger Jan Cutts told the Denver Post. "Not all proposed commercial activities are appropriate for the location proposed, and some are not appropriate on national Forest Service lands at all."

Scott Wilson, who’s owned Colorado Backcountry Rentals since 2004, rents 20 sleds in the winter and 15 ATVs in the summer. His five-employee company offers to supply "your ride" at any season in places "where you will ride unguided through the backcountry of the Colorado Rockies."

But he received a shutdown order and is considering a lawsuit. Federal rangers corresponding with Wilson's attorney Lee Gelman last week said Colorado Backcountry Rentals' operations on Vail Pass and at the Tiger Road area in Summit County "are not authorized activities." "When you have thousands of people going out into forests, how do you regulate that? I get that. They are doing their job," Wilson said. "But why not give me a permit? You can limit my user days."

A decision will be be made this fall on forest commercial capacity for rented snowmobiles, Forest Service officials said. A decision on summer use of ATVs and mountain bikes will require more time, they said.

Forest managers say they'll also look at mountain bike rental operations. 

Posted by Holly Wagner