Snowmobiles

‘Study Group’ Meets to Determine fate of Yellowstone National Park’s East Entrance

Yellowstone National Park officials met earlier this week with several representatives from Wyoming to discuss the options at their disposal for bombing snow-covered mountain slopes in our nation’s first national park. Why? To keep it clear of avalanche danger for the handful of snowmobiles and snowcoaches that enter the park through Sylvan Pass on the park’s east side each day during the winter season.

Economic Greed Tarnishes Our National Park System

For longer than the National Park Service has been in business, capitalists have pulled at national parks, looking for a way to get their financial cut of natural resources. Should we be surprised at this behavior? Of course not. Disappointed? I'd like to think so.

Former Park Service Director Mainella: Interior Department Called Yellowstone Snowmobile Decisions

Yellowstone Superintendent Suzanne Lewis (left) and former National Park Service Director Fran Mainella (right) review snowmobiles in this J. Sullivan photo illustration.
Former National Park Service Director Fran Mainella says her bosses in the Interior Department in effect tied her hands on the question of recreational snowmobiling in Yellowstone National Park. And now she says science should have the final say in whether snowmobiling continues to be allowed in the park.

Conservation Groups Will Head to Court Over Yellowstone Snowmobile Decision

Six conservation groups are condemning the National Park Service's decision regarding snowmobiles in Yellowstone National Park, saying it goes against the core values of the national park system. To right that wrong, the groups said they would seek judicial relief.

FAQs for Yellowstone's Snowmobile Decision Revealing

A National Park Service script of "Frequently Asked Questions" on the decision to continue snowmobile use in Yellowstone National Park is revealing on several fronts.

Park Service Issues Record of Decision On Snowmobiling in Yellowstone, Grand Teton National Parks

A day later than planned, National Park Service officials today signed off on their record of decision to continue snowmobile use in Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks. The ROD was called a "shocking stewardship decision" by the Coalition of National Park Service Retirees.

Yellowstone Snowmobile Decision Missing Record of Decision

Despite months and months of work and planning, National Park Service officials have failed to get a Record of Decision on snowmobiling in Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks signed off on on schedule. But that doesn't mean the upcoming winter season is in limbo. Indeed, a greater threat at this point is lack of snow.

EPA's Perplexing Position On Snowmobiles in Yellowstone National Park

Perplexing. That's my initial reaction to the Environmental Protection Agency's response to the snowmobile decision out of Yellowstone National Park. In five short paragraphs the EPA officials went from seemingly complimenting the decision to saying park planners failed to fully address their concerns.

The Yellowstone Precedent

As the latest decision on permitting snowmobiles in Yellowstone National Park draws to conclusion, the question of the impact that decision will have comes up. To those closely following the issue, the National Park Service's stance could have devastating effects across not just the park system, but over all public lands.

Letter from Congress Urges Director Bomar To Ban Snowmobiles from Yellowstone National Park

National Park Service Director Mary Bomar has been asked by nearly 100 members of Congress to ban snowmobiles from Yellowstone National Park.
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Yellowstone congressional letter.pdf1.45 MB

Director Bomar: Let Science, Not Politics, Decide the Yellowstone Snowmobile Issue

The pledge by Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne and National Park Service Director Mary Bomar to let science prevail in national park management decisions is nearing its defining test. If science is not supported in Yellowstone, where else in the park system will it have the final say?

Yellowstone Snowmobiles: Has Apathy Arrived?

Yellowstone National Park; 'oh_candy' photo via Flickr.
Run a breathtaking, and alarming, video of brown bears about to be slaughtered and there's an outpouring of emotion, angst, and vitriol against the National Park Service for allowing such a hunt. Mention that the National Park Service is fully behind snowmobiles in Yellowstone National Park, where science has demonstrated they're a blight on the landscape, and there's a collective shrug of the shoulders. Has apathy settled in on this issue?

NPS' Washington Headquarters Supports Snowmobiles in Yellowstone

Yellowstone Snowmobiles, March 2000; Photo, Jim Peaco NPS
The decision by Yellowstone National Park officials that up to 540 snowmobiles a day should be allowed in the park come winter is supported by the National Park Service's Washington headquarters, which more than likely means another round of court battles is in the offing.

NPS Snowmobile Plan for Yellowstone, Grand Teton Bucks Science, the Public, and Itself

Yellowstone Snowmobiles, March 2000; Photo, Jim Peaco NPS
Yellowstone National Park planners seem to have shunted aside science, the public, even their own management guidelines, in their desire to see more snowmobiles in the park by backing a final Environmental Impact Statement on snowmobile use that favors more of the machines in the park than have been in use in recent years. Yet to be seen is whether Park Service Director Mary Bomar will override Yellowstone officials.

Senate Appropriations Committee Backs Snowmobiles in Yellowstone

1997 Arctic Cat ZR 580 snowmobile
What do the National Park Service hierarchy and members of the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee know about snowmobiles and their impacts that Yellowstone's scientists, the Environmental Protection Agency, and seven former NPS directors don't know?

EPA Takes Issue With Yellowstone's Winter Use DEIS

Snowmobiles in Yellowstone; NPS Photo
The EPA in its formal comments to the Yellowstone snomobile DEIS says the parks' preference to allow as many as 720 snowmobiles in Yellowstone on a daily basis in winter "may not ensure adequate resource protection" and would result in much more pollution than the snowcoach-only alternative.

Secretary Kempthorne Won't Oversee Snowmobile Decision

Snowmobiles in Yellowstone; NPS Photo
Apparently Mr. Kempthorne won't get involved. You see, it turns out that the Interior secretary has recused himself from taking any action on the snowmobile plan because of his former role as governor of Idaho, which holds a stake, albeit small, in the outcome of this issue, which leaves the door open for Lynn Scarlett to step in.
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