Yellowstone cuts snowmobile usage by more than half
Daily limit set at 318 snowmobiles
Story by Staff, Oct. 16, 2009Email a friend Print Friendly RSS
The National Park Service announced daily limits of 318 snowmobiles and up to 78 snowcoaches in Yellowstone per day for the next two winters. Over the past five winters Yellowstone has allowed as many as 720 snowmobiles per day in the park.
According to the park, however, that ceiling has never been approached. The highest number of snowmobiles in the park on any day over the last five years was 557 in December 2007. Last winter the park had an average of 205 snowmobiles per day.
During the next two years, the National Park Service will prepare a new Environmental Impact Statement and a new long term plan for winter use in Yellowstone National Park.
The National Park Service has been battling environmentalists, snowmobile enthusiasts and the state of Wyoming for years over how many snowmobiles should be allowed in the park.
When word of the new winter use plan was issued, Wyoming’s congressional delegation issued a joint press release condemning the National Park Service’s decision.
“The snowmobile and snowcoach numbers weren’t sufficient when the proposed rule came out in July and they aren’t sufficient now. More people should be allowed in the Park, not less. Yellowstone area businesses deserve more stability knowing what the winter tourist season may bring. The yearly yo-yo policy is slowly suffocating area businesses. I will continue fighting for more access,” says U.S. Senator Mike Enzi.
“This decision ignores the primary mission of our national parks. The Administration’s proposal will limit public access and harm our local communities,” says Senator John Barrasso said. “Putting limits on public access is not required by law and is not backed by science. The Administration has put politics ahead of management by limiting public access to our parks.”
“Today’s announcement by the Park Service goes to the heart of what is wrong with Washington decision-making,” says Representative Cynthia Lummis said. “Year after year, they fail to incorporate common sense and sound science into public lands decisions which end up directly hurting working families and local businesses. The Park Service’s decision to dwindle down the number of people who can enjoy Yellowstone Park in the winter is both disgraceful and wrong.”
Yellowstone snowmobile plan tossed out