Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone National Park

Public comment reopened on snowmobiles in Yellowstone

August 4, 2009, 11:22 am

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced on July 23 that the National Park Service will reopen public comment on a proposed interim rule, first proposed last November under Secretary Kempthorne, to manage snowmobile and snowcoach access at Yellowstone National Park for the next two years.

If finalized, the interim rule would allow up to 318 snowmobiles in the park each day for the next two winters. During this two-year period, the National Park Service will develop a new long-term winter use plan for the park. The average snowmobile use in the park over the last three winters has been less than 300 per day.

"The proposed rule would allow continued access to the park in winter while ensuring the protection of this national treasure and its wildlife while we develop a new long-term plan for winter use in the park," Salazar said.

The proposed rule would replace the 2004 rule reinstated last fall by the U.S. District Court for the District of Wyoming, which governed snowmobile and snowcoach access in the parks for the 2008-2009 winter season.

It would allow up to 318 commercially guided, Best Available Technology snowmobiles, and up to 78 commercially guided snowcoaches per day in Yellowstone, through the 2010-2011 winter season. It would also govern long-term snowmobile access in Grand Teton and the John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Memorial Parkway, including access along Grassy Lake Road, and on Jackson Lake for licensed anglers.

The proposed rule and an electronic form to submit written comments are available on the Internet at HYPERLINK "http://www.regulations.gov/search/index.jsp"www.regulations.gov/search/index.jsp. The public can find the proposed rule by searching the "Documents Open For Public Comment" and selecting the National Park Service as the agency.