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Secretary Kempthorne Won't Oversee Snowmobile Decision

Snowmobiles in Yellowstone; NPS Photo
Guided snowmobile tour in Yellowstone National Park. NPS Photo

    This isn't good.
    Remember a year ago when Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne praised the latest edition of the National Park Service's Management Policies?
    Remember when he told reporters during a rooftop press conference at the Interior Building that (W)hen there is a conflict between conserving resources unimpaired for future generations and the use of those resources, conservation will be predominant?
    Well, at the time those words were pretty reassuring when applied to the ongoing debate over snowmobile use in Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks. After all, how could the Interior secretary allow the park's preferred snowmobile plan to take effect when the park's own scientific studies say that plan would be detrimental to the resources?
    Apparently Mr. Kempthorne won't get involved in the matter. 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.
    Taking the secretary's place on this issue? That would be Deputy Interior Secretary Lynn Scarlett, who a year ago proclaimed that the park system was in better shape than it was a decade earlier, the same Ms. Scarlett who once served as president of the Reason Foundation, which believes user-fees are the best way to fund the national parks.
    Any guesses how she comes down on the snowmobile issue?


The final word will be left behind close doors with Mr.Dick Cheney overseering the decision. I have two words to guts! This administration speaks with a fork tongue as the native Indians would say.

Although I haven't been in Yellowstone in the winter, a friend that has been going to ski camp for years said the restrictions on snowmobiles have made a huge difference in the park. Apparently the number of snowmobiles is limited and only the cleanest and quietest are allowed in with a guide. Thank goodness that these exact same restrictions are being carried on in the new proposal so it won't turn into the circus it was 5 and 10 years ago.

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