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Any Question About Who's Calling the Shots in Yellowstone National Park?


Is anyone still wondering what the answer to this question is?

While the National Park Service might be an apolitical agency, it's nothing if not a hot property in the political world. So is it any surprise that a pro-business, anti-environment administration in the White House would have the final say over snowmobiling in the world's first and best-known national park? A national park, by the way, that resides in the least-populated state in the nation with just three electoral votes whose destination hasn't been in question in a very, very long time?

As the Traveler has suggested by connecting the dots for some time, and as The Associated Press has confirmed, Vice President Cheney's ties to Wyoming played the key role in the decision by Yellowstone National Park officials to commit to trying to keep Sylvan Pass open for snowmobilers coming in through the East Entrance as a favor to the town of Cody specifically and the state of Wyoming in general.

With this connection solidly made, is anyone still wondering why Yellowstone officials ignored their own scientists when ruling that snowmobiles were a perfectly fine recreational option for the park?

Here at the Traveler we're not completely naive. We understand Washington's power, and how just about every decision seems to have some political affliction. All the more reason for national park advocates to become even more outspoken in demanding that the National Park System be run according to the mandates contained within the National Park Organic Act of 1916 and the 1978 Redwood Amendment.


This has been used as a significant source in a New West essay out today.

See by Joan McCarter.

Jim Macdonald
The Magic of Yellowstone
Yellowstone Newspaper
Jim's Eclectic World

Thanks for the links. I had never heard of the NP Organic Act of 1916 or the 1978 Redwood Amendment! I have known of the distinction between preservation and conservation, and that the former is supposed to apply to the Nat'l Parks.

I am adamantly opposed to the use of individual snowmobiles in Yellowstone. But I think a reasonable compromise would be to allow tour guides to operate *quiet,* four-stroke cycle engine machines that can carry several people over roads that already exist. That way clearing the pass wouldn't be necessary, the noise and pollution of two-stroke cycle engines would be eliminated, and snowmobiles could be kept away from sensitive areas and wildlife.

Living near Rocky Mountain Nat'l Park, as I do, the preservation of plantlife has become a conflict with the overpopulation of elk. There is a great deal of controversey over how to handle that situation. Controlled hunts have been proposed, but the outcry against them is nearly deafening.

It would be a marvel if Congress, along with the people it represents, would come to their collective senses.


There is an article on yahoo news with links to the decision document:

People go to yellowstone to rest and relax, to get away from the noise of the city. Snowmobiles are too noisy, too polluting, and destroy vegetation when the snow cover is not that deep. Even when the snow cover is deep, taller plants are susceptible to damage.

I offer my thanks to the park service for using common sense and permitting snow mobiles in Yellowstone.

Afterall, the park is there for the recreation of the citizens of the US and it is not a private conservatory for use only by left wing conservation groups and those they deem worthly. We must be good stewards and at the same time make the park accessible to citizens.

Snow mobiling in Yellowstone is one of the truly great adventures still available to Americans.

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