The future of winter access to Yellowstone National Park is being determined this fall, and today (August 20) is the last day that you and people on both sides of the snowmobile and snowcoach debate can officially have their voices heard.
The debate over snowmobile access to the nation’s first national park has raged for decades, and the signs have generally been positive coming from the National Park Service. In the Winter Use Draft Plan unveiled in June, the Park Service’s preferred alternative (No. 4) would continue very limited access to the park via best-available-technology snowmobiles on guided tours.
But snowmobile fans can’t afford to be lulled to sleep by the recent fuzzy feelings from the feds. Those who want snowmobiles banned from the scenic and stunning park have mobilized again and are flooding the public meetings and writing form letters to try to kick these clean-burning sleds out of this treasured landscape.
You can help.
Feedback is being taken through the end of the day today at this link: http://www.parkplanning.nps.gov/document.cfm?parkID=111&projectID=40806&documentID=48306 . Once there, click on the “Comment On Document” tab – you’ll be asked some quick information and then will be allowed to share your feelings in a box at the bottom of the screen. What you write doesn’t have to be profound – mathematics are as important as anything, and if you want continued access to Yellowstone, merely write that you prefer Alternative 4: Managed OSC Use by Transportations Events. Merely tell them you want continued snowmobile access to the park, that you prefer Alternative 4 – the same one preferred by the Park Service itself – and be polite and professional. Even a 25-word comment that takes minutes is worth writing at this point.
If you have the time or interest, please feel free also to browse the Winter Use documents yourself – there is a click-through to the executive summary and the chapters. But know that Alternative 4 is the most snowmobile friendly. It still has strong restrictions, limiting the total number of daily snowmobile visits to 350 best-available-technology snowmobiles, the vast majority of which must be on guided tours and all of which are severely limited to just a tiny and tightly controlled ribbon within the park. It still protects the park, but allows for this very limited winter access.
Act today, however, as the deadline is at 11:59 p.m. mountain time, and you can be assured that anti-snowmobiling forces across the country are trying to get their people to flood the comment section against snowmobilers.
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