A Vision for the Lookout Pass-Stevens Peak Backcountry

Where It Begins

The mission of the Stevens Peak Backcountry Coalition is to protect opportunities for quiet human-powered winter recreation in the Lookout Pass area and Stevens Peak backcountry. The Stevens Peak backcountry comprises the subalpine area in the vicinity of Stevens Peak, located on the Lolo and Idaho Panhandle National Forests, in the vicinity of the Idaho-Montana state line.  The Lookout Pass-Stevens Peak backountry:

  • Offers prime terrain and snow conditions for backcountry snowboarding and skiing.
  • Has historically been an important area for quiet human-powered winter recreation.
  • Is accessible during the winter from trailheads that can be reached by passenger vehicle, something uncommon for the public lands in our region.
  • Is experiencing growing numbers of snowmobile and motorized snow bike users.
  • Is experiencing a reduction in size due to the expansion of the Lookout Pass Ski Area.

Lookout-Stevens Winter Recreation Area

The Proposed Stevens Peak Backcountry Winter Non-Motorized Area (shown below as “Stevens Lake Non Motorized”) is an area of approximately 3,500 acres in the vicinity of Stevens Peak. It includes the East Willow (Stevens Lakes), West Willow (Lone Lake), Boulder and Gold Creek drainages.  The Lookout-Stevens Winter Recreation Area proposal also maintains the non-motorized trail on the south side of St. Regis Creek in St. Basin.

Lookout-Stevens Winter Recreation Area Conceptual Map

Background

The Stevens Peak non-motorized winter recreation area was originally proposed to the Forest Service in 2000 by members of the Spokane Mountaineers. Since that time, much effort has gone into a formal designation of such an area. Representatives of the winter motorized and winter non-motorized communities, and the ski area have developed a good working relationship and understanding of each other’s desires.

Creation of the Lookout-Stevens Winter Recreation Area Conceptual Map

In April 2017, representatives of winter motorized and winter non-motorized groups, Lookout Pass Ski Area, and the Lolo and Idaho Panhandle National Forests came together to discuss how to share the Lookout-Stevens backcountry. This stakeholder meeting stemmed from objections by organizations representing both backcountry skiers and snowmobilers to the the Lookout Pass Ski Area’s phase 1 expansion (which will reduce backcountry terrain). The concept of the Lookout-Stevens Winter Recreation Area was discussed and agreed upon by all participants at the meeting. This concept recognizes the unique qualities of the Lookout-Stephens area and seeks to define a balanced winter recreation plan for the area that considers the needs of the ski area as well as backcountry skiers and snowboarders, cross-country skiers, and snowmobilers.

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