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Yellowstone Spent $1,096 Per Snowmobiler Coming Through East Entrance


The money Yellowstone National Park spent this past winter to keep Sylvan Pass safe for snowmobilers breaks down to almost $1,100 per snowmobiler, according to park numbers.

The park budgeted $125,000 for snow safety operations, which included firing military artillery rounds onto the mountain flanks above the pass, to protect snowmobile and snowcoach traffic from avalanches, park spokesman Dan Hottle said. 

During this past winter, 114 snowmobiles -- 25 in December, 45 in January, and 44 in February -- entered the park via the East Entrance and over Sylvan Pass, he said.



It wasn't my intention to get us sidetracked on a discussion about "entitlement programs." My point was the money spent on keeping this road open in the winter benefits only a small number of people, and in tight budget times could be better used elsewhere, or saved altogether. However, to those users, this access is important, and they have been successful in applying political pressure to continue this program. Do those users feel they are "entitled" to have winter access via this route? I can't say, although I admit that was my somewhat satirical suggestion.

To some extent, it's a matter of semantics. I'd suggest virtually all of us "want something" from the government at various levels, whether it be emergency services or good highways. The debate arises when those services (such as the subject of the above story) benefit a small number of people at a relatively high cost.

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