Recent development with Yellowstone Snowmobiling

Discussion in 'Current Events' started by MtnBiker, Dec 20, 2003.

  1. MtnBiker
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    MtnBiker Senior Member

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    Bush snowmobile plans thrown out
    WASHINGTON (AP) The National Park Service must revive a plan, scrapped by the Bush administration, to ban snowmobiles from Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks, a federal judge ordered Tuesday.

    U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan said the Bush administration should not have set aside a Clinton administration plan that would have banned snowmobiles in favor of mass-transit snow coaches, which would reduce pollution in the parks.

    The administration dropped that plan and decided to instead allow limited snowmobiling to continue under rules that only allowed snowmobiles with quieter and less-polluting engines.
    The Park Service was set to start operating under the Bush rules today. Sullivan's ruling does not entirely close the parks to snowmobiling.

    Instead, he ordered the Park Service to follow the older rules, which will eventually allow only snow coaches - which carry groups of winter visitors - in areas where individual snowmobilers once rode.

    A limited number of snowmobilers will be allowed to enter this winter - about 490 per day in Yellowstone and 50 per day in Grand Teton.

    The Bush administration plan would have allowed 950 snowmobilers per day in Yellowstone and 400 in Grand Teton, although most would have to ride the less environmentally harmful machines.

    The Park Service called the administration plan a balance between its duty to protect the park and its responsibility to allow the public to visit and enjoy it.

    In a lawsuit, the Greater Yellowstone Coalition of Bozeman, Mont., argued that the Park Service had ignored its own studies that show a ban on snowmobiles and the use of snow coaches would best protect the park's natural resources.

    The group argued that unacceptable pollution and health risks to workers would have continued even with the new emission and entry limits on snowmobiles.

    The Park Service had argued that the new plan is based on a generation of cleaner snowmobile engines that weren't considered when the earlier ban was drafted.

    Sullivan rejected that argument.
    "The prospect of new technology is not 'new,'" the judge wrote, noting that less-polluting machines were considered and rejected when the Clinton administration was deciding how to reduce the harmful effects of snowmobiling.

    In separate claims, the Fund for Animals and other environmental groups challenged the practice of grooming snow-covered roads for snowmobile and snow coach use.

    Those groups claimed the Park Service dismissed studies indicating groomed roads harm bison by creating unnatural corridors for them to move within and outside of Yellowstone.
    Bison that leave Yellowstone in winter can be rounded up or killed under certain circumstances because many carry a disease ranchers fear could be spread to their cattle.

    The Fund for Animals wanted Sullivan to order the Park Service to stop grooming most of the roads in Yellowstone - a ban that would effectively stop snowmobiling in those areas.

    Sullivan did not do so. Instead, he ordered the Park Service to give an answer to a 1999 petition filed by one of the groups, the Bluewater Network, that sought rules prohibiting trail grooming in all national parks.

    The judge did not direct a particular answer, although he said the Park Service must respond to the petition by Feb. 17.


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  2. acludem
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    acludem VIP Member

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    Thanks for posting this. Good to see the Bush administration getting slapped in the face over this outrageous policy change.
     
  3. MtnBiker
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    MtnBiker Senior Member

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    Hey glad to keep you posted Acludem, you probably had no idea of the policy conditions in the first place.
     
  4. nbdysfu
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    nbdysfu Member

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    So Clinton's plan was to remove snowmobiles in exchange for a 'Mass Transit Snow Coach'?:laugh: That's the most greanie thing I've ever heard.

    Such a thing would (1) require the building of a ticket office, employee bunking, and garage (2) depending on the type of vehicle, might also require the installation of a track, and at the very least would result in a beaten path (3) would totally remove the thrill of driving through the snow yourself (4) require the development of a 'Mass Transit Snow Coach,' which would probably be no more efficient than a snowmobile, and even less efficient when only one person wants a ride. The attraction in the winter includes freezing citizens of Moscow waiting for the store to restock on overpriced bread.
     
  5. acludem
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    acludem VIP Member

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    Hey Mtnbiker, I did know about the conditions. I, in fact, was the first to mention snowmobiles and this policy in another thread about logging. So you don't need to keep me posted on national issues, I read three newspapers a day plus online news.

    There should be no snowmobiles in Yellowstone except for emergency purposes. If you want to enjoy the park, do it on foot on skiis, or on a bicycle.
     
  6. MtnBiker
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    MtnBiker Senior Member

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    In all parts of Yellowstone?
    And what about automobiles?
     
  7. acludem
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    acludem VIP Member

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    There are roads through the park, I would assume (I've never been there). I would also guess that there are some roads for public use, and others that only park staff can use, at least that's how the state and federal parks in my area are set up. Snowmobiles, however, can go just about anywhere, and can be quite detrimental to the wildlife and plantlife in the park. If there are areas where snowmobiling can be done safely without harming the park, fine. Otherwise, keep the snowmobiles out.
     
  8. MtnBiker
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    MtnBiker Senior Member

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    I agree Acludem, snowmobiles can be detrimental to wildlife. And of course there are always a few idiots that cause problems by not complying to guidelines. It is true that snowmobiles have the ability to go anywhere but are not permitted to do so, in fact snowmobilers into the park must be accompained by a commercial guide and stay on designated roadways with a maximum speed limit of 45 miles per hour. So not much different than automibile use in the summer. A guy in a 4 wheel drive truck has the ability to go off road and do some damage as well, but I doubt there will be a ban on truck use in the park anytime soon.
     
  9. acludem
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    acludem VIP Member

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    I'm glad to hear that Mtn. In our parks here, trucks have to stay on roadways, if you get caught off-road, you can get a big ticket or even arrested for trespassing and destruction of property. I have a good friend who has old, beat-up four-wheel drive truck and I must tell you we have to fight the temptation to go out to the state park not far from his house and turn donuts in the big field after it rains. :p:
     
  10. MtnBiker
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    MtnBiker Senior Member

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    Yeah, I see where that would be fun and tempting.:cool:
     

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