Snowmobile Enthusiasts Respond to New Yellowstone Winter Use Rodposted Nov 25, 2007
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Jack Welch, President,
Date: November 20, 2007
Earlier today, the Regional Office of the National Park Service in Denver issued its Record of Decision (ROD) on winter use in Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks. This is the latest action in the process of developing a long-term winter use plan for the Parks. The ROD is the final step from which the implementing rule will be developed. This must happen in the next 30 days for the Park to open to snowmobile access December 19, 2007. The ROD formalizes changes and restrictions in snowmobile access to the Parks.
Jack Welch, President of the BlueRibbon Coalition, stated, "We are not completely satisfied by the reduced levels of snowmobile access available only through commercial tour operators, but we appreciate the difficulty of the Park Service's management balance and are thankful that the agency has decided to allow for some level of continued snowmobile access to the Parks."
The final decision includes the following key components:
* Reduced daily snowmobile entries to YNP from 720 to 540
* Requirements for 100% BAT and 100% commercially guided snowmobile access
* Snowmobile and snowcoach travel over Sylvan Pass will be allowed when full avalanche forecasting indicates travel through the pass is safe. The pass will be closed to all travel when full avalanche forecasting shows travel is unsafe, and will reopen to travel only when weather conditions improve and full avalanche forecasting indicates the danger has subsided. In addition, the Park Service will work with the State of Wyoming. Park County, Wyoming and the Town of Cody to seek a consensus approach to avalanche mitigation by June 1, 2008, to provide alternative ways for safe motorized oversnow access over Sylvan Pass.
* Ceasing of maintenance of the Continental Divide Scenic Trail, but allow trailering of snowmobiles between Flagg Ranch and Moran Junction, and travel by non-BAT snowmobiles between Flagg Ranch and West Yellowstone via National Forest System trails.
* Requirements for BAT snowmobiles for fishing access on Jackson Lake.
"We have some concerns, but note the news is not all bad," added Welch. "The Park Service has announced that a 'transition period' will occur in the upcoming 2007-2008 season. During the transition, none of the new restrictions will be implemented. We are also pleased that the Grassy Lakes Road remains accessible with non-BAT sleds from Idaho to Flagg Ranch, which is popular with some riders and essential to the continued operations of the Ranch." Other key aspects of management during the "transition period" are that all entrances, including Sylvan Pass, will be open, all snowmobiles will be BAT and commercially guided and total snowmobile entries will be capped at 720 per day.
Welch continued, "We continue to closely monitor this issue and will continue our efforts to defend reasonable snowmobile access to the Parks."
BlueRibbon encourages you to visit and enjoy these two treasures of the National Park System this winter. For continued updates, please continue to visit our dedicated Yellowstone website at www.saveyellowstonepark.com
The BlueRibbon Coalition is a national recreation group that champions responsible use of public and private lands, and encourages individual environmental stewardship. It represents over 10,000 individual members and 1,200 organization and business members, for a combined total of over 600,000 recreationists nationwide. 1-800-258-3742. http://www.sharetrails.org