October 15, 2001
According to The Wilderness Society, documents released by the U.S. National Park Service reveal that the public has again told the agency that phasing out snowmobile use in Yellowstone National Park is the right decision. The latest round of public comment represents the fourth time in two years that the public has delivered this message about future winter use in Yellowstone.
Public response this time was more heavily weighted in favor of phasing out snowmobile use than in all previous rounds of public comment, said The Wilderness Society. Of the 8,483 comments sent to the Park Service, 6,978 (82 percent) urged the U.S. Department of the Interior not to reconsider the Park Service’s November, 2000 decision. That decision ordered a gradual phaseout of snowmobile use within Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks in order to protect and restore the parks’ wildlife, clean air and quiet.
Studies of snowmobile impacts and other winter use issues within Yellowstone and Grand Teton cost taxpayers millions of dollars during the 1990s, said The Wilderness Society. Results of the studies led the Park Service to conclude that snowmobile use is impairing park resources, in violation of the 85-year-old law that requires strict protection of America’s national parks.
A lawsuit filed by the snowmobile industry forced the Park Service to reopen its decision on how to protect the parks. The Park Service estimates that the new process will cost taxpayers an additional $2.4 million.