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State of Wyoming Goes To Court To Boost Snowmobile Numbers in Yellowstone National Park


The state of Wyoming, as expected, has gone to federal court in a bid to boost daily snowmobile numbers in Yellowstone National Park to 720.

The park is operating this winter and next under temporary rules that allow 318 snowmobiles and 78 snowcoaches to enter the park per day. At the same time, park planners are working on the fourth environmental impact statement of the past decade to try to arrive at a legally defensible and environmentally sound winter-use plan.

On Friday, Wyoming Governor Dave Freudenthal called the temporary guidelines an "unacceptable pattern of limiting public access to the public's lands."

“This rule fails the eyeball test. The Park Service itself has determined a significantly higher number of snowmobiles can be allowed into the Park without harm, but yet they settle on 318 a day,” the Democrat said. “We all agree Yellowstone needs to be protected. But what the Park Service is proposing is incompatible with its own findings.”

According to the governor, Park Service studies themselves have stated that snowmobile use during the past five years showed that even with twice the daily limit resources would not be adversely impacted.

“The Park Service needs to balance its duty to protect Yellowstone against its obligation to help as much of the public enjoy the park as possible," said Governor Freudenthal. "They have failed to do that when their own research shows no harm from 700 snowmobiles and then they set the limit to 318.”

In its lawsuit the state of Wyoming asks that the interim rules be set aside and the 2004 temporary rule, which allowed up to 720 snowmobiles per day into Yellowstone, be reinstated. One of the state's two U.S. senators, Mike Enzi, earlier this fall said as many as 1,000 snowmobiles a day should be allowed into the park.


wyoming should not be worried about the number in the park. they have thousand of acres of snowmobile trails and places to go,without going into the yellowstone.they are wasting the courts time.

My assumption (hope) is that Wyoming is only doing this for economic reasons, as far as tourism, the "rest of the state" collectively doesn't have the draw that Yellowstone does. It's all about the bottom line.

Jack in case you haven't figured it out by now it isn't about the snowmobile trails, it is about being able to see the beauty of Yellowstone in the winter. Snowmobiles are still the more affordable route than by snowcoach.

You could use your arguement in the summer then too with hundreds of thousands of miles of roads across America outside the park, why should people be able to drive through Yellowstone in the summer then? As you can see it isn't about the being able to drive through the park, it is about SEEING the park.

So I guess the governor won't mind 1,000 snowmobiles parking in his own backyard, cutting a swathe through his garden and circling the governor's mansion?

The animals have a hard time in the winter without adding the pressure of all those snowmobiles. Give 'em a break! Let them have a rest from tourists.

The Park Service stated that there was no adverse affects from 700 snowmobiles per day. The animals are not adversely affected. Yellowstone was set aside in 1872 as a place for the benefit and enjoyment of the people. They can't do that if they are not allowed in. What is behind this are groups of people who want to cross country ski the roads in "peace and quiet." It is restricting the use of many for the enjoyment of some. Do some research and find out what is motivating or pressuring the Park Service to change these rules. There are hundreds of miles of backcountry trails for skiers and snowshoers to use, just like those in the summer who want to get away go hike the backcountry. Limiting snowmobilers for another users preference is not right.

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