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Forest service boosting patrol efforts to catch snowmobile trespassers

January 25, 2010 | 11:07 am

A warning sign marks the boundary which forbids the use of motorized vehicles and equipment.

Inyo National Forest officers will be adding aerial patrols in their effort to catch snowmobilers riding in off-limit areas this winter.

The airplane patrols will be added to monitor designated Wilderness and Research Natural areas, which have been prohibited to motorized vehicle access since the passage of the Wilderness Act of 1964.

Riding in closed areas is both a federal and state offense, punishable by fines up to $5,000, six months in jail and possible seizure of snowmobiles.

Areas that will be heavily patrolled include Devils Postpile National Monument, Mammoth Lakes Basin and Obsidian Dome and Shady Rest cross-country ski trails.

Many major winter trailheads and launching points have maps showing the restricted areas. However, since it is each rider's responsibility to know where closed and restricted areas and their boundaries are, it is strongly suggested that riders check with local ranger stations or visitor centers, or obtain a free Winter Recreation trail map at the Mammoth Lakes Welcome Center.

-- Kelly Burgess

Photo: A boundary-marking sign forbids use of motorized vehicles and equipment. Credit: Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press

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