Update: the news is good from the Park Service. On December 15, 2011, the gates will open for the 2011-2012 season for snowmobile access to Yellowstone National Park. This access is being permitted by the Park Service as part of their new Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) process. The EIS process will determine a long term Winter Use plan for Yellowstone. The Park will operate under the regulations listed below just like the 2010-2011 season. A new long-term regulation should be in place by the 2012-2013 season. Watch for more information at www.saveyellowstonepark.com.
The information from the Park Service provides visitors, area businesses, and park employees with an outline they can use for the 2011-12 season. Under the plan, motorized oversnow access will continue this winter, just like last winter. Here is a quick summary of this coming season's rules. Up to 318 commercially guided, Best Available Technology (BAT) snowmobiles and up to 78 snowcoaches will be allowed per day in Yellowstone National Park. Yellowstone's East Entrance and Sylvan Pass will be open for motorized and non-motorized oversnow travel, subject to weather and safety constraints. Trail and off-road use of snowmobiles and snowcoaches has always been, and will continue to be, prohibited.
Another already completed special rule has been published that addresses snowmobile access in Grand Teton Park and the John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Memorial Parkway, including access along Grassy Lake Road from Flagg Ranch to the National Forest and on Jackson Lake for licensed anglers.
In closing, I understand that the fight over Yellowstone has been a long, contentious and complicated battle. We are now in the 13th year of our combined efforts to maintain snowmobile access to Yellowstone National Park. Please remember, the fact that Yellowstone remains open to snowmobiles represents one of the most profound victories over the extreme environmental movement in our lifetime. Enjoy the victory and make your plans to come and enjoy Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks this winter on a snowmobile!
Note: As additional information on items covered in this summary are announced by the Park Service they will be posted at our dedicated website of www.saveyellowstonepark.com