The BlueRibbon Coalition is disappointed over the National Park Service's latest plan to regulate snowmobile use in the Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks.
If adopted, the NPS's final environmental impact statement (FEIS) would limit the number of snowmobiles into the parks down to 540 units from a previous 720. It also would:
- Require 100 percent BAT and commercially guided snowmobile access,
- Close the east entrance to the parks (over Sylvan Pass),
- No longer maintain the Continental Divide Scenic Trail for snowmobile use (although it would still allow trailering between Flagg Ranch and Moran Junction), and
- Mandate BAT snowmobiles for fishing access on Jackson Lake.
"We are very disappointed by the level and nature of the access outlined in the FEIS preferred alternative," says Jack Welch, president of the BRC.
Because the FEIS hasn't been finalized, the temporary plan in place for the last three winters will continue through this season. Under the three-year-old temporary use plan, all entrances will be open, including Sylvan Pass; the number of sleds allowed in will remain at 720 per day; and all snowmobiles entering the parks will be BAT and commercially guided. — Guido Ebert