New Winter Use plan completed for Yellowstone
by Yellowstone National Park
October 15, 2009
A new plan to provide for limited, regulated snowmobile and snowcoach access in Yellowstone National Park for the next two winters has been approved.
An environmental assessment (EA) and proposed rule were released for public review last fall. Comments received have been reviewed, and a Finding of No Significant Impact has been signed. It is available online at http://parkplanning.nps.gov.
The plan allows up to 318 commercially guided, Best Available Technology (BAT) snowmobiles, and up to 78 commercially guided snowcoaches in a day in Yellowstone for the 2009-2010 and 2010-2011 winter seasons. It also continues to provide for motorized oversnow travel over Sylvan Pass and the East Entrance road.
During the next two years, the National Park Service will prepare a new Environmental Impact Statement and a new long term plan for winter use in Yellowstone National Park.
However, this decision provides long term direction for winter use management in Grand Teton National Park, and the John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Memorial Parkway.
Twenty-five snowmobiles a day will be allowed to travel on the Grassy Lake Road, with no BAT or guiding requirement. On Jackson Lake, an initial daily limit of 25 BAT snowmobiles will provide access to ice fishing opportunities for persons possessing appropriate fishing gear and a valid State of Wyoming fishing license. The limit may be increased to 40 snowmobiles per day if monitoring of park resources indicates acceptable conditions. Grooming and motorized oversnow travel on the Continental Divide Snowmobile Trail between Moran Junction and Flagg Ranch will be discontinued.
Rules to implement the decision will be published in the coming weeks in the Federal Register, to allow the parks to open for the winter season as scheduled on December 15, 2009.
Yellowstone National Park