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Poll: Winter Use in Yellowstone


    What's the best solution for managing over-the-snow vehicles in Yellowstone?
    According to my latest poll, nearly 41 percent of the 69 viewers who took the poll say snowcoaches are the only way to go, while 36 percent say there should be no over-the-snow vehicles in the park, period.
    Interesting results, especially when you consider just 10 percent favored the park's preferred solution: as many as 720 snowmobiles per day, along with 78 snowcoaches. Thirteen percent favored 250 snowmobiles and 78 snowcoaches per day.
    Of course, one option I overlooked but probably should have been included would be to plow the park's roads in the winter to allow wheeled traffic.


You mean your latest poll among other "we don't believe in motorized sports" people? Would it surprise you if you did the same poll and the answer came up "Mountain bikes are fine" or "Cross country skiing is the only way to go"? Of course your poll says "no motors"... do you think you're being read by a bunch of motorsports enthusiasts? I, for one, think snowmobiles (not the old 2-cycle) should be allowed in the park, and snowcoaches updated to better technology. But, as you can see, I'm not your average reader.

Ah, Gurl, nothing surprises me these days. What might surprise you, though, is that I'm not one of your "we don't believe in motorized sports" people. In fact, several times I've wondered on these pages why the snowmobile industry doesn't move to electric 'biles. Prototypes have shown they're powerful, clean, and pretty quiet. It'd be hard to argue against them. As for snowcoaches, you're absolutely right, they should be updated to the best available technology.

Kurt, I'm glad you mentioned the option that's missing because I know I've read that suggested as well, and I tend to support no over-the-snow motorized vehicles but for plowing to allow cars because it seems data shows that cars pollute less, it allows people besides the very rich to see Yellowstone in winter, and would still allow bicycles to enter into the park. Data is looking like snowcoaches are extremely toxic and encourages monopolistic and homogenous experiences of the park. Snowmobiles are obviously no better than snowcoaches (even 4-cycle isn't that good). But, if the whole park were shut down to all motorized vehicles at any time of the year, I'd be the last to complain about that per se. What I don't like about any of this is the process. It's the process of decision-making that's rotten, and I think people on all sides would be better served coming together to deal with the policy making process. I think that's something that snowmobile enthusiasts, environmentalists, people in Cody, bikers, and everyone else can agree on. The process is horrible and more than a bit mysterious. But, the process is a catch-22...since the land is held in public trust of all American people, the National Park Service is the representative executive agency of the will of the people through the Congress. It's not clear how they are the ones who could ever fix the process. Not everyone with an interest in what happens has an organized lobby, and so it's not enough to say that all stakeholders should have a decision at the table. It suggests to me that until we think radically about the role of government, parks, democracy, and political power, there will never be a satisfactory resolution to the snowmobile issue or other issues of such complexity. Unfortunately, many have bought into the rhetoric that "snowcoaches" are an acceptable answer both environmentally and socially. I don't think that's proving to be true. There is no acceptable answer, only those that tend toward one. The only one that tends to be most environmentally friendly and most friendly toward democratizing the park is plowing the road (and I don't think studies related to bison using the groomed roads to leave Yellowstone are proving to be in any way conclusive - and that's a whole other can of related worms) for use by cars. But, that's hardly a solution...just a step along the way.

I am a motorsport enthusiast, love riding dirt bikes and sleds, but in a National Park!? There are to many acres of other public lands I find to play in that offer more of, I do not mind letting a little place like Yellowstone National Park be motor free. "....(not the old 2-cycle)" Wait a minute now! My old 2 stroke beast is still going strong and I plan on no upgrade. Though you will not find me in a National Park (way too restrictive!) one can find me by the noise and blue smoke near the Methow River breaks for a week or two every winter. :-]

My problem usually comes when people try to include bikes in the 'no impact' category. Ya'll KNOW that mountain bikes do way more visual and environmental damage (drainage, ruts, delicate plants being destroyed) than sleds. That's why I always get bothered on this topic. How about "Nothing off-road except feet". That would seem fair to ALL!

For the record, I wasn't talking about mountain bikes. Current winter use policy in Yellowstone doesn't allow bikes on Yellowstone's roads.

"How about "Nothing off-road except feet". That would seem fair to ALL!" Except for those without feet.

Your poll is far from scientific in that the majority of your readership is far-left greenies/ I take it with a grain of salt...or couscous....

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