Yellowstone National Park officials, while going through the regulatory process to extend the "one-year rule" guiding over-snow traffic in the park for the coming winter, are also seeking additional public comment on their draft winter-use management plan.
Park officials Friday announced a proposal to extend through the coming winter the temporary rule that allows up to 318 snowmobiles and 78 snowcoaches a day into the park. Snowmobiles would have to feature the latest emissions technology, and trips into the park would have to be guided. The temporary rule would also allow for continued over-snow travel through the East Entrance and over Sylvan Pass. Those are the limits the park has been operating under for the past three winters while planners worked to craft an acceptable winter-use plan.
Along with seeking that extension, Yellowstone officials announced that they would reopen the public comment period for 30 days on the Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement for long-term plan for winter use in the park.
“As we look to the 2012-2013 winter season, we want to provide a safe and positive experience for our visitors,” said Superintendent Dan Wenk. “Today’s approach ensures that there will not be interruptions to access this winter, and also responds to public requests for additional review and comment on the long-term plan.”
After considering a 30-day public comment period on extending the one-year rule for the 2012-2013 winter season, the National Park Service intends to amend the record of decision for the 2011 Environmental Impact Statement and to issue an rule authorizing oversnow vehicles use during the 2012-2013 winter season.