NPR Story: Snowmobiles and Yellowstone

National Public Radio had a piece this morning about the snowmobile story in Yellowstone. This is a story that has been running on for years, of course, but it is nice to listen for up-to-date details of the continuing saga.

NPR: Snowmobiles Likely to Keep Access to Yellowstone

The web article has a timeline of events, that begins in 1963 with the introduction of the first snowmobile into the park. The web article also contains what they call "The Debate At a Glance", which I have included below:

Question: Should the National Park Service allow snowmobiles in Yellowstone National Park?

Environmental groups: No
  • Snowmobiles are loud and pollute. While cleaner and quieter than they were just a few years ago, the vehicles are still neither clean nor quiet.
  • The Park Service's own research shows snow coaches are better for the environment.
  • The Park Service is not required to accommodate all transportation choices, just provide access to the park.
  • The priority is maintaining the pristine qualities of the park for future generations.

Snowmobile industry: Yes
  • Improved technology is making snowmobiles cleaner and quieter.
  • Snow coaches don't provide the thrilling outdoor experience that snowmobiles do.
  • Snowmobiling has been allowed in the park for four decades.
  • Banning snowmobiles would hurt the local economy.

Currently, the Park Service is leaning toward allowing 720 snowmobiles per day. They must have the best available technology to reduce pollution and sound. There must be a commercial guide to ensure snowmobile users follow the rules.