Only 6 Days left to SAVE YELLOWSTONE for Snowmobiling >>

christopher

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March 24th, 2010

BLUERIBBON COALITION ACTION ALERT for YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK!
Comment Deadline on Yellowstone Winter Use Plan Ends Soon
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</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Important Yellowstone Update - Letter Generator Uploaded!</td> <td>03/23/2010</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Comment Deadline on Yellowstone Winter Use Plan Ends Soon</td> <td>03/18/2010</td> </tr> <tr> <td>
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SITUATION
The National Park Service (NPS) is preparing an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for a Winter Use Plan for Yellowstone National Park. The purpose of the EIS is to establish a management framework Yellowstone's unique and valuable winter recreational resources.

This plan will determine whether motorized winter use of the park (including wheeled motor vehicles, snowmobiles, and snowcoaches) is appropriate, and if so, the types, extent, and location of this use. A Winter Use Plan is needed at this time because:
The NPS is deciding whether snowmobile use should continue, and if so, under what limits and restrictions. The EIS will evaluate the environmental effects of winter use on air quality and visibility, wildlife, natural soundscapes, employee and visitor health and safety, visitor experience, and socioeconomics.

The public comment period for the "scoping" phase of the EIS ends March 30, 2010. Comments in the Scoping process are extremely important.

SNOWMOBILERS NEED TO COMMENT BY MARCH 30
.



For questions and other information, contact John Sacklin at (307) 344-2019.
More info is also available on the web at: http://parkplanning.nps.gov/YELL


WHAT YOU NEED TO DO:
Snowmobile enthusiast NEED to comment during this initial phase, and if you have ever been to Yellowstone, we need you to comment regarding your experience.


BRC'S THREE-STEP ACTION ITEM
STEP-BY-STEP INSTRUCTIONS ON HOW TO SEND YOUR COMMENTS:


NOTE:
Please be polite and, if possible, make your comment letter as personal as you can.


STEP 1:
Click on the following link, which will take you to the NPS comment webpage.
http://parkplanning.nps.gov/commentForm.cfm?parkID=111&projectID=29281&documentId=31782
Read and follow the instructions for completing the Comment Form.

STEP 2:
Use the comments suggestions below as a guideline for your comments. Cut and paste is okay, but try to make your comment letter as personal as possible.

STEP 3:

Take just a minute to add a bit about where you live, any winter visits you have made to Yellowstone, how often you go, how long you have been riding in the area and/or how important the area is to you.

Once you have completed your comments, click the "Submit" button.

Optional:
You may also comment by mail to: Yellowstone National Park, Winter Use Scoping, P.O. Box 168, Yellowstone NP, WY 82190.


COMMENT SUGGESTIONS:
When creating the National Park System, Congress mandated that the Park Service: (1) "promote" and "provide for the use and enjoyment" of park resources, and (2) and "leave [the park resources] unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations." These are coequal, yet sometimes conflicting, mandates that require the NPS to balance both interests when making management decisions.
The previous management plan took a reasonable approach to snowmobiling, although subsequent analysis indicates daily limits were to low. Snowmobiling in Yellowstone is a delightful, unique and valuable experience. Technology allows us to have that experience and minimize impacts. Guides ensure compliance with all Park Service rules.

The Purpose and Need and the Planning Objectives of this EIS should reflect the socio-economic importance of snowmobiling in the Park. Snowmobiling has a long, rich history. Snowmobiling in the Park is highly valued by those participating. Allowing snowmobiling to occur is consistent with the agency's management plan, the NPS national planning guidelines and the agency's strategic plans. Snowmobiling in Yellowstone is also consistent with recent agency direction to encourage increased visitation to National Parks. Snowmobiling is consistent Congressional direction in the establishment of both the National Park System and Yellowstone National Park itself. All of this should be reflected in the purpose and need statement itself.

Given that recent studies indicate that impacts of snowmobiles have been vastly overstated by some stakeholders, it is appropriate for the agency to develop at least one Alternative that enhances snowmobiling experience. Please consider developing an Alternative that considers increasing the daily limits and an Alternative that considers modification of the Guide system to allow individuals to become certified as guides.

Previous years management has shown a need to alter the daily limit paradigm to include a concept of "peak days." In addition to considering raising the daily limit, at least one alternative should include a flexible daily limit paradigm that allows "credit" for very slow days in order to provide for a higher daily limit on "peak days." Such a system would include a limit, for example, the number of peak days would not exceed a certain percentage of the total season days.

Previous years management also shows a need for flexibility in the gate allocation. For example, if a gate operator knows in advance that they will not use their gate limit, those numbers should be able to transfer to another gate. At lease one alternative should include a flexible gate allocation process.

A key consideration in any NEPA analysis is "context" and "intensity." In past analysis, the agency has focused on potential impacts of snowmobiling without the proper context. The key flaw in previous analysis is that it failed to consider impacts of wintertime activities in the context of year round use. I formally request that the agency consider impacts of snowmobiling in contrast to summer use.
As one who values snowmobile use as a modality to visit and enjoy public lands, I can say that the experience of snowmobiling in Yellowstone provides an unparalleled inspirational experience. The Park's interpenetrate information, provided at the Park Entrance and the destinations as well as by guides is excellent. Snowmobilers leave with an enhanced appreciation of Yellowstone's natural resources.

The scoping information referenced several Plan Objectives, including those related to Visitor Use. One Plan Objective is: "Provide opportunities that are universally accessible." I support this objective because many snowmobilers use snowmobiles for access and recreation because they are physically unable to snowshoe or ski. But I am concerned that the Objective may be interpreted as meaning ALL opportunities should be universally accessible. Such an approach would be like requiring ALL hiking trails in the Park be universally accessible. Also, your analysis should consider that snowmobiles are chosen as a preferred recreation modality by many of the elderly and the handicapped.

At least one alternative should include a one-year (or more) transition period after the EIS is completed in late fall of 2011. Having a decision made on winter access to Yellowstone Park within a very short period, possibly only 30 days before that 2011-2012 season begins, would be a hardship on the snowmobile operators and the general public. This transition period would allow operators and the general public to make appropriate plans for the 2011-2012 season. Snowmobile operators need to place orders for machines in spring 2011, and the public needs to be able to make plans to visit the park with sufficient certainty that will accommodate early vacation planning and airline discounts.

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The BlueRibbon Coalition is a national (non-profit) trail-saving group that represents over 600,000 recreationists nationwide The Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) season is beginning. Federal employees, please mark BlueRibbon Coalition and Check #11402 on your CFC pledge form to support our efforts to protect your access. Join us at 1-800-258-3742
http://www.sharetrails.org
_______________________________________________________

As a non-profit, grassroots organization funded primarily by membership dues and donations, we greatly appreciate your support. Visit http://www.sharetrails.org/make-a-difference-now to help fund our efforts to protect your trails!


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Snowmobiling in Yellowstone - Why We Fight


Yellowstone Scoping Process Continues...12 years and still snowmobiling in Yellowstone!


By Jack Welch, BRC Volunteer Consultant

The Congressional mandate for Wilderness is entirely different than that of the National Park System. Wilderness is all about protection. National Parks protect, but also are supposed to be visitor friendly. The idea is for the American public to come and visit.

When creating the National Park System, Congress mandated that the Park Service: (1) "promote" and "provide for the use and enjoyment" of park resources, and (2) and "leave [the park resources] unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations."

Radical environmental groups openly admit they would like to change that. They think National Parks should be all about protection, just like Wilderness, and they are working hard to make that happen. Wilderness activist groups have attempted to close all the dirt roads in Canyonlands National Park, eliminate Personal Watercraft from Lake Powell, and ban snowmobiles from Yellowstone.

Snowmobiling is a wonderful and totally unique way to experience Yellowstone in the winter. Technology allows us to have that experience and minimize impacts. Guides ensure compliance with all Park Service rules. Just like in Canyonlands and Lake Powell, BRC fights to protect snowmobiling in Yellowstone because it's the right thing to do.


That is why we fight. Let's take a look at who we fight.

BRC has proudly joined others in fighting for reasonable snowmobile access to Yellowstone for the last twelve plus years. Among those on the other side is a group called the Greater Yellowstone Coalition.

In an article titled GYC Wants Snowmobile Ban by Next Winter, the Island Park News reported on a recent fund-raising event hosted by Mike Clark, Executive Director of the Bozeman-based Greater Yellowstone Coalition (GYC).

GYC purports to support science-based management policy for Yellowstone. But we're not so sure.

Island Park News quotes Clark as asking for donations to:
"support a plan for Yellowstone that will eliminate snowmobiles and promote a quieter and cleaner winter experience for visitors, and more important, for the wildlife that call Yellowstone home. Unfortunately, the National Park Service continues to allow snowmobiles, causing unnecessary noise and pollution in America's first national park."

But the Park Service study reports:
Air quality is very good to excellent in the winter. Best Available Technology snowmobiles, limits on

numbers of oversnow vehicles, and commercial guiding have all contributed to the improvements in air quality. The BAT technology snowmobiles are currently all four-stroke machines that produce far less pollution than traditional twostroke snowmobiles. Yellowstone intends to implement a BAT requirement for snowcoaches in the future that would continue to improve air quality.


Island Park News quotes GYC's Clark as saying:
"Snowmobiles have been a noisy, air-fouling, wildlife-stressing influence in Yellowstone for four decades. At one point, nearly 2,000 snowmobiles daily were roaring across the park without restriction. The time is now to do what is right for Yellowstone and its wildlife,"

Let's look at what the Park Service science says about that:
Extensive studies of the behavioral responses of five species (bison, elk, bald eagle, trumpeter swans and coyotes) to over snow traffic showed that these animals rarely showed high-intensity responses (movement, defense postures, or flight) to approaching vehicles. For individual animals, 8 to 10 percent of elk and bison show a movement response to snowmobiles and snowcoaches. Approximately 90 percent of elk or bison either show no apparent response or a "look and resume" response.

This level of reaction was consistent for a wide range of daily average oversnow vehicle use (ranging from 156 to 593 vehicles per day). Thirty-five years of census data do not reveal any relationship between changing winter use patterns and elk or bison population dynamics. No wildlife populations are currently declining due to winter use (swan populations are declining, but this decline is being experienced regionally and due to factors unrelated to winter use in the park or region).


GYC also says it
Promote the most environmentally friendly means of visiting the park's interior, such as snowcoaches, snowshoes, and skiing;


That sounds nice, except that based on wildlife monitoring, the odds of eliciting a movement response were higher for snowcoaches than snowmobiles.

That's who we fight. We fight well-funded extremists bent on changing the way the National Park System is managed. They distort and lie about the science they claim to hold dear. They operate under a classic "ends justify the means" modus operandi.

In the larger philosophical struggle over management of public lands, National Parks are the tip of the spear. BRC is proud to have been in the trenches over the last 25 years, and we are committed to continue that fight.

How you can help:

The NPS is preparing another Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for a Winter Use Plan for Yellowstone National Park. The anti snowmobile forces tried to have the federal courts close Yellowstone. Thanks to the involvement of snowmobilers and OHV users across the country, all they got was another EIS.

It is one of many such environmental analyses, and it is an important and required skirmish in our ultimate battle to finally ensure snowmobiles can stay in Yellowstone. We know the process seems to never end, but the anti-access groups hope to exploit apathy and confusion. It is important that we stay engaged with our consistent and increasingly-supported opposition.


The good news is that recent studies are showing the claims of GYC and other anti-motorized groups as vastly overstated. This EIS could provide for a reasonable, science-based, long-range Winter Use Plan for Yellowstone National Park.

BRC HAS AN ACTION ALERT HERE:
http://www.sharetrails.org/alerts/?alert=1139
MORE INFO ON SAVEYELLOWSTONEPARK.ORG:
http://www.saveyellowstonepark.org
LINK TO PARK SERVICE LETTER HERE:
http://tinyurl.com/YNP-Response-to-Form-Letters
LINK TO ISLAND PARK NEWS:
http://www.islandparknews.com/
 
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christopher

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Hopefully a few members of SnoWest will take the 5 minutes to participate in this and help stop the Enviro-NAZIs from their never ending attempts to close Yellowstone down to all snowmobiling.
 

christopher

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Maybe If they are so determine to keep snomobilers out.They need to find a more friendly spot for the expo/snowcross etc.It seems to make them money then.
I think the city of West Yellowstone is 100% behind Snowmobile Access into the park!

They are taking the brunt of this ANTI-SNOWMOBILE attack.
 

TCF Racing

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Jan 7, 2008
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My comments were sent today! Thank's for the heads up and reminder Christopher, I hope all of the snowmobiling community will step up and fight for our rights!
 

christopher

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Thanks!
We here at SnoWest did our part by sending out this alert to over 45,000 members of our forum.

Now its in the hands of the riders.


It would be a CRYING SHAME to loose Yellowstone to these Enviro-NAZIs. But if we do not fight them at every turn, THEY WILL WIN.
 

Cardiac Kid

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The snowmobiling industry as a whole is way cleaner and quieter than it was 10 yrs ago but we still seem to be classified as environmentally unfriendly. It is truly unfair. Everyone please respond even if it is only one sentence in support of continued and expanded snowmobiling in the park.
 

nortrop

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My parents took their first trip to Yellowstone as newlyweds in the winter of 1968. They ventured out by themselves on a single cylinder Polaris and had the experience of a lifetime. To this day I still hear about their adventures. Though circumstances and regulations may have changed, I don't want my kids to miss out on a similar experience. Comments sent...
 
Nov 11, 2008
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My comment is on the way but this is terrible news as I am sure that sooner or later they will close it down altogether.If it's not air pollution or noise it will be adding to global warming or something like that.
 

FirstPlaceParts

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Other forums

I posted a link to this on:

www.dootalk.com
www.hardcoresledder.com
www.snowmobileforum.com

and also sent my comment in, if you are members of other forums I would mention something there also. The more people the better, or go comment on the forums above to keep the topic current. This is a time to bring everyone together regardless of what forum they are on or were they ride.

Thanks
Mark
 
Dec 10, 2007
86
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Sledding Yellowstone

Come on folks give us a break. If anything snowmobiles are a huge asset to the park. Helps animals get around Sleds have lower emissions than most of the folks that want to band us to the park as they drive around in there Esclades.
 

christopher

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One of our active SnoWest members sent me the following by Private Message.

It pretty well sums up why we are slowly loosing our rights to ride.


===

I could really care less. Ive never rode there........never will. If people want to get involved in supporting their local riding areas there are designated subsections in the forum for that.


With an attitude of mutual support like that, its no wonder the rest of us have to pick up the slack and work twice as hard.

Every single time there is a closure, WE ALL LOOSE!

Wasn't it Benjamin Franklin that said...

We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately.
At the signing of the Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776.

If we as a Snowmobiling community don't start pulling together to support each other, we will each loose the batter one at a time and then the war is lost.
 
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