Reaction: Yellowstone Winter Use Plan A Win For Wyoming, Says Mead, Barrasso

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By County 10 News Desk

(Cheyenne, Wyo.) -  Governor Matt Mead said recently that the Final Winter Use Plan for Yellowstone National Park is a positive step forward. The National Park Service unveiled the plan in February. The current plan is open for public comment. Go here for more information on making your voice heard.

Wyoming has had cooperating agency status in this planning process and was fully engaged in representing the state.

The Final Winter Use Plan gives tour operators flexibility based on public demand. This flexibility is related to the number of snowmobiles and snowcoaches that can enter the park each day and travel along roads, as well as to the use of new technologies. Governor Mead also felt that it was important that non-commercial guided access be allowed and the Final Plan allows such access.

"The winter use plan has been a high priority in Wyoming for many years and has continued to be a high priority in my administration. We worked hard to represent the interests of our state and the communities that host millions of visitors to Yellowstone each year," Governor Mead said. "I want to thank the local cities and counties for their work and the citizens who participated in this process. This plan strikes a balance that I support and worked to achieve. It will have long-term beneficial impacts on the economy and the people of Wyoming.

"Snowmobiling in Yellowstone was an experience I enjoyed growing up in Wyoming and it created a special bond with the Park for me. I think that allowing non-commercial guided access will generate lasting memories of Yellowstone for generations to come," Governor Mead said. "Yellowstone is an iconic place and because of that millions come to the area each year, making the Park an important part of our state's economy. I am glad Wyoming's voice was heard in this process."

Governor Mead thanked the Superintendent of Yellowstone National Park, Dan Wenk, and Secretary of the Interior, Ken Salazar for being responsive to the ideas from Wyoming people. The Governor said he pledges to continue to be engaged with the Park Service as this plan is finalized and implemented.

Read the NPS news release here.

U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) released the following statement regarding the Final Winter Use Plan:

"Today's announcement will hopefully bring to close a 15-year long debate on how the National Park Service manages Yellowstone's winter use activities. I'm encouraged Wyoming's views were incorporated into the final plan. By keeping Sylvan Pass open, providing noncommercial access, and allowing flexibility for snowmobile groups, Wyoming residents and communities will be able to enjoy winter recreation and good jobs. Superintendent Wenk has developed a plan that appears to address both the economic and environmental needs of the park. As the plan is implemented, I'll follow it closely."

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