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Final rule for winter travel in Yellowstone gains widespread approval

Two people share a snowmobile during a January 2012 trip into Yellowstone National Park.

CODY, WYO. — After more than 15 years of contentious debate over snowmobile travel in Yellowstone National Park, the National Park Service on Tuesday released a final winter-use plan that appears to have a solid chance of avoiding legal challenges. The latest plan follows six previous failed attempts and a total of more than 1.1 million public comments. Environmental groups have said snowmobiles are loud, dirty and stressful for animals. Tour operators have said increasing travel restrictions have made it difficult to stay in business. Continue Reading →

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If a snowmobile rides through Yellowstone, does it make a sound event?

Four snowmobiles sit parked near Fishing Bridge in Yellowstone National Park. Planners say the average snowmobile party in the park has seven sleds. (Ruffin Prevost/Yellowstone Gate - click to enlarge)

As planners move forward with crafting a new winter-use plan for Yellowstone National Park, they'll be gauging public response to the idea of so-called "sound events," one of the few new ideas in a decade of debate and court challenges over managing winter vehicle traffic in the park. Under two of the potential winter-use alternatives proposed by the Park Service in February, snowmobile and snow coach travel through Yellowstone would be managed by sound events — the total number of noise-producing trips made each day. Continue Reading →

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Long-term comprehensive plan will guide development of Yellowstone Lake area

Lake Hotel, lower left, is dwarfed by the expanse of Yellowstone Lake and the surrounding mountains of Yellowstone National Park. (NPS photo - click to enlarge)

Visitors are drawn to Yellowstone National Park's Lake Hotel and the surrounding area for its expansive views, sweeping shoreline and historic structures. Spawning Yellowstone cutthroat trout use the streams emptying into Yellowstone Lake, and the fish attract grizzly bears. Figuring out how to maintain and update developed facilities while preserving those natural attractions is the goal of a draft comprehensive long-range plan for Fishing Bridge, the Lake area and Bridge Bay released this month by the National Park Service. Continue Reading →

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