The state of Wyoming and one of its counties are again seeking an avenue to sue the federal government over the reduced number of snowmobiles allowed in Yellowstone National Park on a daily basis.
In an interview earlier this week with the Powell Tribune, Park County Commissioner Tim French said the county and state were appealing a federal judge's decision last fall that they had no legal standing to contest the Interior Department's limits on daily snowmobile and snowcoach access to Yellowstone in winter.
"If anybody has standing, it’s Park County,” Mr. French told the newspaper, adding later, “We should absolutely be allowed to argue our point of view in the court.”
The county and state have made similar, unsuccessful, arguments in the past.
The county seat of Park County is Cody, which lies 53 miles east of Yellowstone's east entrance. In terms of winter use, it recently has seen very little access in winter. For example, most over-snow visitors (6,178) who came into Yellowstone in December entered the park through the West Entrance at West Yellowstone while 2,244 arrived via the South Entrance north of Jackson, Wyoming. Just 81 snowmobiles came through the East Entrance west of Cody.
No snowcoach traffic currently comes in from the East Entrance, as the park couldn't find a concessionaire to provide the service.
According to the Powell newspaper, the county, state and the International Snowmobile Manufacturers Association last Monday appealed U.S. District Judge Alan Johnson's ruling that neither the state nor the county had legal standing to appeal an earlier decision upholding the daily limits of 318 snowmobiles and 78 snowcoaches while Yellowstone planners work on a fourth environmental impact statement aimed at developing a sound winter-use plan for the park.
“Wyoming and Park County have more at stake as a result of the 2009 Winter Use Plans than any single individual, visitor, merchant, or guide,” wrote the parties in a brief filed with the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. “It defies logic for the law to permit the (National Parks Conservation Association) to participate in this litigation based on the actions of as little as one of its members, but to conclude that Wyoming and Park County do not have standing to redress the unlawful acts of the (National Park Service) within the borders of the state and county.”