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County In Wyoming Sues National Park Service Over Snowmobile Numbers in Yellowstone National Park


Although only a fraction of the snowmobile traffic that enters Yellowstone National Park comes in through the park's East Entrance, the Wyoming county that is the gateway to that entrance has sued the National Park Service over limits on how many snowmobiles can enter the park.

In recent years there have been as few as 13 snowmobiles per day entering Yellowstone through the gate. Nevertheless, officials in Park County filed suit in U.S. District Court in Cheyenne earlier this week in a bid to overturn the daily limit of 318 snowmobiles that can enter the park this winter and next under a temporary winter-use plan. The lawsuit claims, in part, that that limit "is arbitrary, capricious, (and) an abuse of discretion..."

It also argues that the Park Service's decision that only commercially guided snowmobile groups can enter the park is flawed and states that evidence exists that "higher daily snowmobile numbers do not impair park resources or cause unacceptable impacts."

The lawsuit also argues that the Park Service is wrong to place conservation of resources over public enjoyment of those resources "any time the two values are in conflict."


How about a compromise. In snowmobile season, give the guys who want to explore with machines the high numbers they want, every other week. Then on the opposite weeks close the park to all private machines. I've owned snowmobiles and can understand their owners concerns. But that's been years ago for me. Today I would not even consider going to the park to hear the snowmobiles cruising around. I would love to see it in the winter w/o all the noise. Doing this kind of compromise everyone gets some of what they want.

@ paul: Everyone - but the wildlife. A single day of everyone doing what ever they want with their snow mobiles in the park can be enough to kill animals. Every time they are disturbed and have to flee through deep snow, they use up vast amounts of energy. To refill their energy they need quiet time to browse, quiet time they would not have on such a day. Now image seven consecutive days like that.

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