The National Park Service has released a final plan to guide
the future of winter use in Yellowstone
Under the preferred alternative of the Final Winter Use
Plan/Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS), the park would manage
over-snow vehicles based on their overall impacts to air quality, soundscapes,
wildlife and visitors, rather than focusing on the number of snowmobiles and
snowcoaches allowed in the park each day. The park would allow up to 110
“transportation events” a day, initially defined as either one snowcoach or on
average a group of seven snowmobiles. No more than 50 transportation
events a day would be allocated for groups of snowmobiles.
The preferred alternative would provide for one entry a day
per entrance for a non-commercially guided group of up to five snowmobiles.
It would continue to allow for motorized over-snow travel on the East
Entrance road over Sylvan
The winter of 2013-14 will be a transition year during which
the park will allow motorized over-snow travel under the same conditions in
place for the past four winters: up to 318 commercially guided Best Available
Technology snowmobiles and up to 78 commercially guided snowcoaches
Additional information and an electronic copy of the Final
Winter Use SEIS are available online at http://parkplanning.nps.gov/yell.
A proposed rule to implement the preferred alternative will
be released soon for a 60-day public review and comment period.
You can request a printed copy of the Final SEIS by
contacting the National Park Service, Management Assistant’s Office, P.O. Box 168, Yellowstone
National Park, WY 82190.
The superintendent of Yellowstone National Park
will use the analysis and recommendations contained in the final SEIS to make a
final recommendation to the National Park Service Intermountain Regional
Director regarding the direction of winter use. The Regional Director is
expected to issue the Record of Decision (ROD) sometime this spring.
Once the Record of Decision has been issued, a final rule to
implement the decision will be published in the Federal Register in order to
allow the parks to open for the winter 2013-14 winter season.