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Snowcat Adventure & Usage Forum Snow Trac, Kristi, Thickol/LMC, Tucker, Bombardier stories & discussions

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  #1  
Old 03-24-2017, 01:01 PM
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Default Washington State Snowcat Owners?

Hi to all:

I'm trying to assemble a list of WA state owners of snowcats to help us with broader access to trails and roads in the winter. As anyone who has tried to use a cat in WA knows we have lots of restrictions due to state laws as they pertain to groomed snowmobile trails.

I'm trying to begin to get some organization and momentum to help the state of WA understand who we are. I've spoken with the state, the Forest Service and others (Thanks Mike!!!) and they are open minded but need to get a sense of the snowcat community in WA.

Nothing is going to happen overnight but we've got to start somewhere!

I'm open to suggestions/advice/whatever!

Please respond to this post or drop me a note at t(dot)ross(at)northwestreps(dot)net.


Thanks!

Tracy Ross
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  #2  
Old 03-24-2017, 01:40 PM
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Default Re: Washington State Snowcat Owners?

I'm in OR right on the boarder and use mine in WA state fairly often. Not sure if that helps you but I'm interested in WA access! Thanks.
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Old 03-24-2017, 02:16 PM
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Default Re: Washington State Snowcat Owners?

Much appreciated, thanks.

If you don't mind, drop me an email or PM with your name and contact info. Also if you know of other owners, pass on my contact info or have them drop me a note.

tracy
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Old 03-24-2017, 02:53 PM
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Default Re: Washington State Snowcat Owners?

just wondering about the restrictions with snowmobile trails ?---what r they-----I get around pretty good in the winter with my cats---iam about the only one in my area that plays with them---other than the snowmobile clubs (that's a whole other story-lol)---iam in new York state and atv riding is looked down on big time and I ride a lot --average4- 5 nights a week----one thing I did in my area was I got training with the forest rangers for search and rescue ---I have a scanner in my house and when ever a call goes out for anything close to a search or rescue I load and go---all my wheelers my Polaris ranger and my rzr all have 30 inch swampers / winches/led lighting---and when you haul rescue people and gear it helps get them to look the other way on other things--and maybe were not that bad--last fall on a cold raining night lost hunter call /it was a load and go-when I got there they had found him on the back side of a swamp---he was down and out--I got an emt and a pile of gear in my rzr ---made it across swamp---they tried but no luck ----another search for 3 days of hauling troopers /dogs/searchers and finding the guy alive --when fire depts. gave up with there stupid kobota sbs that they all have o ya and a argo I stayed and helped i ran my ranger and let encon. officers use my other wheelers (it was deep in the woods and bad conditions ) as i was loading up the head officer came over and thanked me ---so the point iam making is maybe get involved with them and that might help knowing that your really not bad---all the forest rangers and encon officers in my area know that i have wheelers and stuff on tracks i don't wait----load and go they will take your help
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Old 03-24-2017, 03:08 PM
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Default Re: Washington State Snowcat Owners?

Thanks TopWelder, excellent suggestions and most of us try to do all of this.

In WA, state law reads that only rigs steered by a ski (on the snow, not in your hands to replace a stick or other device you hold in your hands to steer) and under about 52 or so inches wide are allowed on state groomed snomo trails. This really limits access for many of us. Lots to this back story but you get the idea based on the rules who it protects. It does not allow for snowcats or Grizzly's or RZR type rigs and they are a growing part of the winter rec scene at least in WA.

In fact in WA, as has been discussed on this forum, we can't even register snowcats (unless they are old/vintage) to help pay for grooming costs, etc that registering a snowmo does.

All in all very complicated, i'm just making an attempt to organize and possibly strengthen our position. I know their are not many of us in WA. And the snowmo guys have lots of members and are very organized. But the state is 'open' minded and we've got to start somewhere. Plenty of room on the trails to share and that is all i am proposing.

Thanks again for your input, much appreciated!
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Old 03-26-2017, 01:25 PM
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Default Re: Washington State Snowcat Owners?

Hope your successful I don't mind paying for tabs to run on forest service roads.




Quote:
Originally Posted by ssort View Post
Thanks TopWelder, excellent suggestions and most of us try to do all of this.

In WA, state law reads that only rigs steered by a ski (on the snow, not in your hands to replace a stick or other device you hold in your hands to steer) and under about 52 or so inches wide are allowed on state groomed snomo trails. This really limits access for many of us. Lots to this back story but you get the idea based on the rules who it protects. It does not allow for snowcats or Grizzly's or RZR type rigs and they are a growing part of the winter rec scene at least in WA.

In fact in WA, as has been discussed on this forum, we can't even register snowcats (unless they are old/vintage) to help pay for grooming costs, etc that registering a snowmo does.

All in all very complicated, i'm just making an attempt to organize and possibly strengthen our position. I know their are not many of us in WA. And the snowmo guys have lots of members and are very organized. But the state is 'open' minded and we've got to start somewhere. Plenty of room on the trails to share and that is all i am proposing.

Thanks again for your input, much appreciated!
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  #7  
Old 03-26-2017, 03:16 PM
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Default Re: Washington State Snowcat Owners?

RCW 46.10.300
Definitions.
The following definitions apply throughout this chapter unless the context clearly requires otherwise.
(1) "All terrain vehicle" means any self-propelled vehicle other than a snowmobile, capable of cross-country travel on or immediately over land, water, snow, ice, marsh, swampland, and other natural terrain, including, but not limited to, four-wheel vehicles, amphibious vehicles, ground effect or air cushion vehicles, and any other means of land transportation deriving motive power from any source other than muscle or wind; except any vehicle designed primarily for travel on, over, or in the water, farm vehicles, or any military or law enforcement vehicles.

Then we go to,
46.09.450
Authorized and prohibited uses for off-road vehicles.


(1) Except as otherwise provided in this section, it is lawful to operate an off-road vehicle upon:
(a) A nonhighway road and in parking areas serving designated off-road vehicle areas if the state, federal, local, or private authority responsible for the management of the nonhighway road authorizes the use of off-road vehicles;
(b) A street, road, or highway as authorized under RCW 46.09.360; and
(c) Any trail, nonhighway road, or highway within the state while being used under the authority or direction of an appropriate agency that engages in emergency management, as defined in RCW 46.09.310, or search and rescue, as defined in RCW 38.52.010, or a law enforcement agency, as defined in RCW 16.52.011, within the scope of the agency's official duties.
(2) An off-road vehicle operated on a nonhighway road or on a street, road, or highway as authorized under RCW 46.09.360 and this section is exempt from both registration requirements of chapter 46.16A RCW and vehicle lighting and equipment requirements of chapter 46.37 RCW.
(3) It is unlawful to operate an off-road vehicle upon a private nonhighway road if the road owner has not authorized the use of off-road vehicles.
(4) Nothing in this section authorizes trespass on private property.
(5) The provisions of RCW 4.24.210(5) apply to public and private landowners who allow members of the public to use public facilities accessed by a highway, street, or nonhighway road for recreational off-road vehicle use.
[ 2013 2nd sp.s. c 23 15; 2011 c 171 27; 2010 c 161 221; 2006 c 212 2; 2005 c 213 4. Formerly RCW 46.09.115.]

Washington makes a distinction between wheeled and non wheeled off road vehicles but never mentions tracked vehicles.

RCW 46.04.546
Snowmobile.
"Snowmobile" means a self-propelled vehicle that is capable of traveling over snow or ice that (1) utilizes as its means of propulsion an endless belt tread or cleats, or any combination of these or other similar means of contact with the surface upon which it is operated, (2) is steered wholly or in part by skis or sled type runners, and (3) is not otherwise registered as, or subject to, the motor vehicle excise tax in the state of Washington.

So by the letter of the rule the Tuckers with skis on the front are snowmobiles. So is Mr Loggah's Lombard.

http://www.snocobra.com/trail-use/

This website breaks down what each state considers a snowmobile.

If the Washington State legislature changed a few words you could register and operate a fully tracked snowcat as a snowmobile and possibly operate on groomed trails.

Or operate as a non-wheeled ATV.

Then there is the Fed's take on it.

https://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE...prd3799973.pdf

(Sorry for the rambling. It's Sunday.)

Last edited by PJL; 03-26-2017 at 04:01 PM.
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Old 03-26-2017, 04:22 PM
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Default Re: Washington State Snowcat Owners?

PJL, thanks for the rambling...............

Love the snocobra concept, not sure it would work on my rigs...........

No question the task is daunting but tracked vehicles are becoming more and more popular and is something the state (and snomo clubs) need to address at some point.

Tracy
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  #9  
Old 03-26-2017, 04:22 PM
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Default Re: Washington State Snowcat Owners?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kristi KT7 View Post
Hope your successful I don't mind paying for tabs to run on forest service roads.
Thanks Kristi, we will see where it goes.
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Old 03-26-2017, 10:20 PM
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Default Re: Washington State Snowcat Owners?

Here is what is posted on USDA Forest Service website for the Methow Valley Ranger District.

"Each year from December 1 to April 1 most Methow Valley Ranger District access roads become groomed snowmobile routes and are closed to wheeled vehicles. Only snowmobiles can be driven on groomed snowmobile routes. A snowmobile is a track driven, ski steered vehicle less than 50 inches over-all width. Horses, ATVs and bicycles are not allowed on groomed snowmobile routes. Snowcat use requires a permit to operate on groomed snowmobile routes. Fat bikes are not allowed on groomed snowmobile routes."

Tracy can probably comment on the 'Snowcat Permit'. I think it has been over 10 years since the last permit was issued.

I would have to assume the USDA 50" width restriction trumps the Washington State legal definition.
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Old 03-26-2017, 10:32 PM
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Default Re: Washington State Snowcat Owners?

I'm all in. Thanks Tracy.
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Old 03-26-2017, 10:41 PM
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Default Re: Washington State Snowcat Owners?

I spoke with the main FS office in Wenatchee last week and was read an enforcement order that allows tracked ATVs on all Wenatchee Ntnl. Forest road in the winter. 52" max width for now but maybe a starting point...spent Sunday catting in the Colockum Fish and Game managed area around 5000'. All motorized vehicles are allowed on the Green Dot roads in that area....not sure about other Green Dot areas.
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Old 03-27-2017, 11:50 AM
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Default Re: Washington State Snowcat Owners?

looks like the 52 inches thing is for snowmobiles-----not seeing the word Sno-Cat----is getting stopped a big thing there---I say fly under the radar ----STAY AWAY FROM GOVERMENT ALL YOU CAN----there are so many gray areas in laws----here in my state we have a few clubs touching them self using utv to groom with---LOL-----and I have been questioned about driving my ranger or rzr on the trails with tracks---so how can it b ok for some and not others---here in nys. an atv/utv has to be under 1000 pounds to get a reg.----my ranger is over that---so do I buy it and not drive it---my rzr says 996 lbs.----just putting 30 inch swampers put me over 1000 lbs. now add winch/bumper/windshield/doors/ect.----so do I register it or not----if I get stopped with my trailer and iam over registered weight I get a ticket----so I guess if you think u need to be registered --how about a anything other than street legal reg. ?----here is one for you----when we started grooming in my area we would park at the local Polaris dealer---I would drive down the center of the blvd. to get to the trail---my wessel had rubber pads.----there was a law on the books----no wheels or skis hitting road--WAS LEGAL ---to drive on the road --- because army tanks use to run roads-----lets think about this your driving on snow--who cares----just drive the d mmmmmm thing---they make lawyers everyday ---maybe a few tickets and a court fight might open some eyes----great movie to watch people vs. larry flint
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Old 03-27-2017, 01:53 PM
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Default Re: Washington State Snowcat Owners?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mill666er View Post
Here is what is posted on USDA Forest Service website for the Methow Valley Ranger District.

"Each year from December 1 to April 1 most Methow Valley Ranger District access roads become groomed snowmobile routes and are closed to wheeled vehicles. Only snowmobiles can be driven on groomed snowmobile routes. A snowmobile is a track driven, ski steered vehicle less than 50 inches over-all width. Horses, ATVs and bicycles are not allowed on groomed snowmobile routes. Snowcat use requires a permit to operate on groomed snowmobile routes. Fat bikes are not allowed on groomed snowmobile routes."

Tracy can probably comment on the 'Snowcat Permit'. I think it has been over 10 years since the last permit was issued.

I would have to assume the USDA 50" width restriction trumps the Washington State legal definition.
The federal register in recent years added an addendum to allow local FS districts to make specific rules/laws for their local area. This allows them to restrict via weight and width snow vehicles from the snowmobile trail system. The feds allow state and FS to override their interpretation of the definition of a snowmobile.

I personally do not want to be anywhere near a snowmobile trail if at all possible in a snow cat as the speeds used by snowmobiles do not allow for a wide body heavy snow vehicle traffic. Snowmobiles do not anticipate another vehicle and often cut corners and travel much too fast for the trail system. I know of several close calls and one accident that has occurred locally in my area. A snowmobile does not stand a chance against a 7000 lb snow cat. The laws are being changed in favor of the small snowmobile with the increasing occurrence of accidents to eliminate the big heavy over snow vehicles. Getting support of the snowmobile clubs will help but they often do not want the added traffic of the larger snow cats on the trails.
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Old 03-27-2017, 02:27 PM
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Default Re: Washington State Snowcat Owners?

Quote:
Originally Posted by mtntopper View Post
The federal register in recent years added an addendum to allow local FS districts to make specific rules/laws for their local area. This allows them to restrict via weight and width snow vehicles from the snowmobile trail system. The feds allow state and FS to override their interpretation of the definition of a snowmobile.

I personally do not want to be anywhere near a snowmobile trail if at all possible in a snow cat as the speeds used by snowmobiles do not allow for a wide body heavy snow vehicle traffic. Snowmobiles do not anticipate another vehicle and often cut corners and travel much too fast for the trail system. I know of several close calls and one accident that has occurred locally in my area. A snowmobile does not stand a chance against a 7000 lb snow cat. The laws are being changed in favor of the small snowmobile with the increasing occurrence of accidents to eliminate the big heavy over snow vehicles. Getting support of the snowmobile clubs will help but they often do not want the added traffic of the larger snow cats on the trails.
on that federal register is it down on paper someplace?
it sounds like they can do whatever they please if that exists.
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Old 03-27-2017, 07:43 PM
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Default Re: Washington State Snowcat Owners?

Mtntopper, agree that the speed differential is a factor and caution needs to be taken. I'm not interested in staying on the groomed trails as what fun would that be? I am looking to use the groomed trails for access to get to other areas that allow for all types of vehicles. We are in a series of valleys and the groomed trails as of now prevent access to areas where, according to the FS we are allowed to run.
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Old 03-27-2017, 09:42 PM
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Default Re: Washington State Snowcat Owners?

I don't disagree with Mr Topwelder. There is a benefit to keeping a very low profile. The chances of running afoul of Guvmint agents is quite low given that they are poorly staffed and have other things to do. That being said it would be nice if the laws recognized snowcats as legitimate snow vehicles.

And then there is the issue of coming across high speed snowmobiles in a 7,000 lb vehicle as Mtntopper pointed out. Cat operators should be allowed to travel roads to access what they want.
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Old 03-27-2017, 11:35 PM
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Default Re: Washington State Snowcat Owners?

PJL, agree completely. Issue for those of us in the Methow Valley is that it is small and most people know one another in some way or the other. We have about 4-6 cat owners in the Valley and from what i can tell only Rob (Mill666er) and I are 'active'. Other cats don't get used or are for farm/ranch use. I know the managers of the FS office in town from some of my board of director work with local organizations, I know the snomo club guys as i'm a member. We would get busted very fast and it would make it worse. I think it's worth to try to get some mutual understanding from the state, WSSA (WA State Snomo Assoc), the FS, etc to try to get the language of the law changed to accommodate the growing number of winter users. I might be dreaming but it's worth a shot...........
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Old 03-28-2017, 12:55 AM
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Default Re: Washington State Snowcat Owners?

So next step is contacting our State legislators about a bill to rewrite the snowmobile definition.
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Old 03-28-2017, 01:43 AM
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Default Re: Washington State Snowcat Owners?

Planning on going to the Snowmobile Advisory Committee mtg in Wenatchee on July 21/22. Then to the WSSA meeting later in the summer.

Mike Couch is on the SAC, is a cat owner and supporter of trying to get the issue addressed. He is realistic that it's a multi year process.
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