Interim Winter Use Rule for Yellowstone
Park set to open for winter season as scheduled on December 15
November 17, 2009
A rule implementing a new plan to provide for limited, regulated snowmobile and snowcoach access in Yellowstone National Park for the next two winters will be published in the Federal Register on Friday, November 20.
This interim rule allows up to 318 commercially guided, Best Available Technology (BAT) snowmobiles, and up to 78 commercially guided snowcoaches per 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.
The park will open for guided snowmobile and snowcoach interpretive tours on December 15, 2009.
Park roads are groomed to allow oversnow travel by commercially guided snowmobile and snowcoach tours to destinations including Old Faithful and Canyon. A current list of authorized concessioners can be found online at http://www.nps.gov/yell/planyourvisit/wintbusn.htm.
The North Entrance and the road from Gardiner, Montana, through Mammoth Hot Springs on to Cooke City, outside the park’s Northeast Entrance, is open to wheeled vehicle travel all year. This provides access to a wide range of recreational opportunities including wildlife viewing and photography, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing.
All communities near and on the way to Yellowstone are open all year, with local businesses offering a wide range of recreation opportunities. A wealth of information and assistance planning a visit to Yellowstone can be found on the park’s web site at http://www.nps.gov/yell..
The Yellowstone General Store, clinic, campground, post office, and the Albright Visitor Center at Mammoth Hot Springs are open all year. The Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel, dining room, and gift shop; and the Old Faithful Snow Lodge, dining room, fast food, and gift shop; will reopen for the winter season in December.
Reservations and information on in-park campgrounds and lodging is available by contacting Xanterra Parks & Resorts at 866-GEYSERLAND or online at http://www.yellowstonenationalparklodges.com.
Information on lodging, camping, services, and activities near the park in the Montana communities of Gardiner, West Yellowstone, and Cooke City, is available by contacting their respective Chambers of Commerce or from Travel Montana at 800-847-4868 or http://visitmt.com. Those interested in visiting the Wyoming communities of Cody and Jackson should contact the Chambers of Commerce, or Wyoming Travel and Tourism at 800-225-5996 or http://www.wyomingtourism.org.
The interim rule will be posted on Friday at http://www.gpoaccess.gov/fr/browse.html.. The rule implements a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) signed last month. Both the FONSI and the Environmental Assessment are available online at http://parkplanning.nps.gov.
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.