Rangers apprehend snowmobilers in Yellowstone Park backcountry
by Yellowstone National Park
January 31, 2009
Four people were apprehended recently when park rangers caught them riding snowmobiles in Yellowstone’s backcountry.
They were operating their rented machines off-trail, more than a mile inside the park boundary near West Yellowstone.
The four men from Indiana will have to return to the area in late February, and appear before the Federal Magistrate in U.S. District Court at Mammoth Hot Springs.
While limited, managed snowmobile and snowcoach travel over groomed, snow-packed park roads is permitted in Yellowstone, the use of snowmobiles in the backcountry, on trails, and off road has always been prohibited.
Violators face a fine of up to $5,000 and up to six months in jail as well as forfeiture of their snowmobiles. Additional charges of damage to park resources can result in another $5,000 fine and an additional six months imprisonment.
In recent weeks, rangers have observed off-road snowmobile tracks up to two-and-a-half miles inside Yellowstone’s backcountry. Rangers regularly patrol the boundary and have the option to ticket, arrest, and confiscate the snowmobiles of violators, who can expect to face aggressive prosecution.
Editor’s Note: To report illegal riding into the wilderness areas of Sublette County on the Bridger-Teton National Forest, contact the Sublette County Sheriff’s Office at 307-367-4378 or the Bridger-Teton National Forest Pinedale Ranger District at 307-367-4326.