It’s a grand winter for snow enthusiasts on the Boise National Forest! The Forest Service encourages people to #Get Outdoors and enjoy their time - whether skiing, snow-shoeing, and snowmobiling or other winter sports. We also want to remind visitors that there are areas on the Boise National Forest where over-snow vehicle travel is not allowed. These areas are not new and were identified to help protect and restore important habitat, reduce user conflicts and protect water quality.
There are tools available to help visitors navigate the Forest in winter. The Boise National Forest Winter Travel Map was developed to inform winter visitors and is available for free at Forest Offices and on the Boise National Forest website. The map complies with Subpart C of the Travel Management Rule and displays a variety of information in hard copy form. The map is also geo-referenced and available for download through the Avenza Map Store for free. This enables the visitor to download the map onto their smart phone or tablet and then use their Global Positioning System (GPS) to track their location and navigate while outdoors. This tool also helps visitors to locate the areas that are open for over-snow use and other winter uses.
Another tool for the public that the Boise National Forest is implementing is the use of quick response codes (QR codes) for information. This tool is a machine-readable optical label that contains information about the item to which it is attached. Typically, a smartphone is used as a QR code scanner, displaying the code and converting it to some useful form (such as a standard URL for a website). The use of this tool allows the user to access information through their cell phone quickly using the scanned image and download information. Information about maps, permits, user guides and other information becomes readily available electronically and it reduces the need for paper copies of handouts and other information.
More information on downloading geo-referenced maps and use with Apple and Android devices can be found at the Avenza Map Store or on the Boise National Forest Website at: http://www.fs.usda.gov/main/boise/landmanagement/gis
The Forest Service defines “over-snow vehicle (OSV)” as a motor vehicle that is designed for use over snow and that runs on a track or tracks and/or a ski or skis, while in use over snow.