It should surprise absolutely no one that leaders of the pro-motorized recreation Blue Ribbon Coalition are mobilizing their members to urge the National Park Service to relax guidelines on snowmobile use in Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks. After all, they have a constituency that's entitled to its opinion.
However, I have to question their beliefs that the Park Service should ease off from its position that only "best available technology" snowmobiles be used in Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks.
As testing has shown, even the "BAT" snowmobiles are dirty. Dirtier than they were envisioned, in fact. To say that's OK in a national setting would be shameful. Of course, perhaps it also signals that the industry cannot, or is unwilling, to produce a snowmobile that runs cleaner than those already out on the market.
In a story that ran today in the Casper Star-Tribune, coalition officials maintain it's "totally ludicrous" for officials in Grand Teton to require BAT snow sleds, as is the case in Yellowstone. They maintain it would harm tourism.
That's a pretty ludicrous position to me. Noisy, raucous herds of rampaging snowmobiles throttling their way through a national park setting is not going to boost tourism, it's only going to harm it.