ISMA speaks up on Yellowstone issue
Group says public supports sled access to park
Story by Snowmobile.com Staff, Nov. 15, 2007Email a friend Print Friendly RSS
The International Snowmobile Manufacturers Association (ISMA) of Haslett, Mich. says most Americans believe snowmobiling should be allowed at Yellowstone. The ISMA claims a survey by SWR Research, a Washington, DC based polling and public opinion firm, provides the evidence.
According to the survey, 90% of all Americans believe responsible snowmobiling should be allowed in the park and 65% think the effort to limit outdoor recreation represents the views of a small minority.
“We must be strong in defending our position and I believe we all gain strength in knowing that a vast majority of the population supports our values, our recreational opportunities and our winter lifestyle,” the ISMA said in a release.
“Non-snowmobilers don’t dislike us like everybody claims they do,” ISMA president Ed Klim told Snowmobile.com.
The ISMA’s reaction came just days after 86 members of US Congress sent a letter to National Park Service director Mary Bomar asking her to phase out snowmobiles in Yellowstone and not accept the new proposal by Yellowstone’s managers to allow 540 snowmobiles per day in the park.
The proposal states that all sleds in Yellowstone must fall under the category of best available technology (BAT). BAT sleds must meet or exceed sound and emission standards set by the park. Also, all sleds must be accompanied by a commercial guide.
For the past few years, a cap of 720 snowmobiles per day has been in place at Yellowstone and the proposed cap of 540 would begin in the winter of 2008-09 if the proposal gets approved. A final decision on the proposal was to be made by the National Park Service by November 19.
The 86 members of Congress (seven republicans, 79 democrats) are from 26 states, none of which are the three states where Yellowstone is located—Idaho, Montana and Wyoming.
They say the proposed plan would undermine improvements in the health and clarity of Yellowstone’s air. They also say the plan would add to noise problems that currently exceed the park’s standards and would go against recommendations by wildlife scientists.
“Thankfully, there are only 86 of them that have signed the letter,” says Klim. “That’s better than a few years ago when there were 150 of them. We’re doing better, not worse.”
Snowmobilers have long been at odds over the use of sleds at Yellowstone and they have been banned from the park completely at times. Yellowstone’s snowmobile policy has been in the works for more than 10 years.
“This has been an issue for over a decade,” Yellowstone spokesman Al Nash told Snowmobile.com. “There has been vigorous debate on this issue for a long time and I think it’s pretty safe to say that we recognize some individuals and groups may take issue with part, or all, of this revised alternative.”