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Reservation period begins for self-guided Yellowstone snowmobile trips

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

The week before Labor Day hardly seems like the ideal time for contemplating a winter trek through Yellowstone National Park. But Tuesday, Sept. 1 is a key date for anyone planning to travel through Yellowstone by snowmobile as part of a self-guided group. That's the first day to submit applications online for the lottery system that allocates spots in the self-guided tour program. Under a newly implemented winter-use plan, last winter was the first season since 2003 that allowed sledders to tour Yellowstone without a commercial guide. Despite relatively warmer temperatures and sparse snow, winter recreational visits park-wide increased by 14 percent over the previous year. Continue Reading →

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Yellowstone seeks comments on winter-use plan

A year after managing winter travel by snowmobiles and snow coaches under a newly adopted program, Yellowstone National Park is seeking public comments on proposed revisions to the plan. Park managers said discussion about the draft Winter Use Adaptive Management Plan is part of an effort to continually improve the management of winter use in the park using the best available science and public input. The draft plan will be available for public review and comment until August 21, 2015. Continue Reading →

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Melting snow means no snowmobiles from West Yellowstone

A long stretch of above-normal temperatures and limited snowfall in Yellowstone National Park have resulted in a dramatic reduction in the snowpack on road segments linking West Yellowstone and Old Faithful. That has left many areas along the road from West Yellowstone through Madison Junction to Old Faithful with large portions of exposed pavement visible, requiring the National Park Service to change how vehicles may access the park in that area. Continue Reading →

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Yellowstone east entrance open to snowmobiles

Commercial and non-commercially guided snowmobiles and all types of snow coaches may now travel from the park’s East Entrance over Sylvan Pass to Fishing Bridge Juction. Due to various road restrictions in place, travelers should consult the current road conditions online.. Road status can change with little warning due to adverse weather conditions which could require temporary road closures to all oversnow travel. Continue Reading →

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Yellowstone opens more routes to snow vehicles

Yellowstone National Park is opening additional groomed roads after seeing snowfall every day this week. Commercial and non-commercially guided snowmobiles and commercial snow coaches with rubber tracks or large tires may now travel all the way from Mammoth Hot Springs south through Norris to Madison, and from Norris east to Canyon Junction continuing south all the way to West Thumb. Snowmobiles and all types of snowcoaches may travel from the park’s South Entrance through West Thumb to Old Faithful. Continue Reading →

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Yellowstone taking permit applications for self-guided snowmobile tours

Commercial snowmobile guide John Davis leads visitors through Yellowstone National Park during a 2007 day trip.

For the first time in more than a decade, winter visitors to Yellowstone National Park will have a chance to tour the park by snowmobile without using a commercial guide. The National Park Service announced this week that it is accepting applications for non-commercially guided snowmobile trips. The program will be run as a lottery through a federal public lands website where prospective visitors may select their preferred dates and submit an online request. Continue Reading →

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New contracts bring changes to Yellowstone winter tour business


The business landscape for winter tour operators in Yellowstone National Park saw a shake-up this week as the National Park Service awarded a series of concessions contracts that will remain in effect for the next decade. Some longtime snowmobile and snow coach operators were selected to continue guiding winter visitors into Yellowstone, while many others with decades of experience were not among those awarded new contracts. Continue Reading →

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Yellowstone and Grand Teton open for winter season

Doug Kraus, a firefighter who lives in Mammoth, skis into the backcountry Friday near Top Notch Peak.

The winter season kicks off today in Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks, as entrances open to snow coaches, snowmobiles, skiers and hikers along the snow-covered roads through both parks. A mix of travel and recreational activities are allowed on different roads and trails in both parks. Visitors are reminded to come prepared by carrying personal emergency survival equipment in their vehicles and dressing appropriately for outside activities in extremely cold weather. Continue Reading →

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Yellowstone invites proposals for winter tours by snowmobile, snow coach

The National Park Service has released a prospectus soliciting proposals from businesses interested in providing guided, interpretive over-snow vehicle tours of Yellowstone National Park. A total of 23 new contracts will be awarded and put into place for the 2014-2015 winter season. They will take the place of 13 concession contracts for guided interpretive snow coach tours and 21 commercial use authorizations for guided interpretive snowmobile tours currently in place in Yellowstone. Continue Reading →

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Yellowstone winter tour operators wary of new concessions contracts


Yellowstone National Park managers passed a major milestone last week with the release of a final winter-use rule that appears to have gained widespread acceptance as a workable solution to 15 years of ongoing legal challenges over snowmobile travel in the park. But it's unlikely park planners will have much time to celebrate their success, as there is a large piece of the winter-use puzzle that remains unsolved. Continue Reading →

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