Would Also Impact Grand Teton

NPS Calls For Fewer Snowmobiles in Yellowstone

Thursday, August 28 2008 20:08   Yellowstone
Editor's Note: A Federal judge on Sept. 15 blocked plans to allow snowmobiles into Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks this winter. See our story elsewhere in this issue. Following is our original story about the plans for the 2008-2009 winter season. We will keep you up to date on any changes.

New rules are being proposed by the National Park Service for allowing fewer snowmobiles and snowcoaches in both Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks starting in the winter of 2008-2009, and mandating quieter and more energy efficient machines.

Additionally, the proposed changes would require that all snowmobiles and snowcoaches would be 100 percent commercially guided. Mandatory guiding has addressed most of the concerns regarding the impacts of historic, unregulated winter use, the park service said.
There are several other changes being proposed, including eliminating oversnow travel over Sylvan Pass, stopping the use of helicopters or a park howitzer to control avalanches, discontinuing grooming and oversnow travel on the Continental Divide Snowmobile Trail between Moran Junction and Flagg Ranch in Grand Teton, and allowing only 40 unguided, snowmobiles a day on Jackson Lake for ice fishing.

The superintendents of Yellowstone and Grand Teton will use the analysis and recommendations contained in the Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to make a final recommendation to the National Park Service Intermountain Regional Director regarding the direction of winter use in the Greater Yellowstone Area park units.

The Regional Director makes the final decision, and can choose the revised preferred alternative or any combination of management approaches addressed in the Final EIS. The Regional Director is expected to issue the Record of Decision (ROD) sometime in November.

For more information on winter use planning for Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks go to
www.nps.gov/yell/planyourvisit/winteruse.htm or to see the final EIS go to http://parkplanning.nps.gov/documentsList.cfm?parkId=111&projectId=12047.


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