NPS Announces Record of Decision for Winter Use at Yellowstone National Park

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August 22, 2013 6:56 PM
 

NPS Announces Record of Decision for Winter Use at Yellowstone National Park

Dear Action Alert Subscribers,

The National Park Service (NPS) Intermountain Regional Director John Wessels today signed a Record of Decision (ROD) for the Winter Use Plan/Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (Plan/SEIS).
 
The ROD officially completes the Plan/SEIS process, which was developed in accordance with the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 and included extensive public involvement, including a number of opportunities for the public to submit comments on the Plan/SEIS.

"This winter use plan is the product of hundreds of hours of public involvement, is based on sound science, and is a different approach to winter use management. The Plan/SEIS and ROD provide mechanisms to make the park cleaner and quieter than ever before authorized, allow greater flexibility for commercial tour operators, reward oversnow vehicle innovations and technologies, and permit increases in visitation," said Yellowstone superintendent Dan Wenk.

Beginning with the 2014/2015 winter season, a fixed maximum number of vehicles allowed in the park each day will be replaced with a new, more flexible concept of managing vehicle access by transportation events, defined as one snowcoach or a group of up to 10 snowmobiles, averaging seven seasonally. 

Commercial tour operators will be able to use their allocated transportation events for snowmobiles, snowcoaches, or a mix of both, as long as no more than 50 of the authorized 110 daily transportation events are snowmobile events. By relying upon user demand to determine the best mix of oversnow vehicle (OSV) use and focusing on the impacts of OSV use on park resources, the transportation event concept protects park resources and allows appropriate access.

The plan also allows for one entry a day per entrance for a non-commercially guided group of up to five snowmobiles and will continue to allow for OSV use on the East Entrance road over Sylvan Pass.

The 2013/2014 winter season will be a transition year during which the park will allow OSV under the same conditions in place for the past four winters. The one-season transition period will also allow time for the NPS to advertise and award concession contracts and for commercial tour operators to prepare for the shift to management by transportation events.

Because the Regional Director's decision will allow OSV use in the park, a regulation must be promulgated before the decision can be implemented. A final regulation is expected to be published in the Federal Register in early fall.

Additional information and an electronic copy of the Plan/SEIS and ROD are available online at http://parkplanning.nps.gov/yell.

Public Affairs Office
Yellowstone National Park, WY  82190
 (307) 344-2013
Yell_Public_Affairs@nps.gov
www.nps.gov/yell
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Special Note:
In the final regulation, the date for the new Best Available Technology (BAT) to be required will be established. BlueRibbon Coalition will provide that information as it becomes available at our dedicated website  www.saveyellowstonepark.com 

Thanks in advance for your support,
Jack Welch
Special Project Consultant
BlueRibbon Coalition
303-489-9477
 

 

The BlueRibbon Coalition is a national recreation group that champions responsible recreation, and encourages individual environmental stewardship. With members in all 50 states, BRC is focused on building enthusiast involvement with organizational efforts through membership, outreach, education, and collaboration among recreationists. 1-800-BlueRib - www.sharetrails.org
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