Yellowstone Businesses Announce Opening of the 2005-2006 Snowmobile Season

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January 11, 2006 12:00 AM
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JACKSON, WY (November 28) — Local businesses in Montana, Idaho and Wyoming, as well as wintertime users of Yellowstone National Park is celebrating the opening date of the 2005-2006 season by thanking members of Congress for their help in protecting access to America's first National Park.

Thanks to efforts by Senators Conrad Burns of Montana and Craig Thomas of Wyoming, Yellowstone will open for snowmobiling on December 21st. Local businesses are gearing up to welcome visitors from across the country.

Allow me to offer a personal word of thanks to all of our members for supporting this important issue. Snowmobiling in Yellowstone is a truly unique and valuable experience. BRC is committed to protecting our privilege to visit and enjoy Yellowstone by snowmobile.

The Park Service will operate under an interim rule which was announced on November 11, 2004 and will permit a total of 720 snowmobiles per day. Thanks to innovative and advanced engine design, all machines allowed in Yellowstone will meet the Best Available Technology standards.

Unfortunately, snowmobilers must be commercially guided when entering the Park. BRC is working with our local snowmobile associations as well as the American Council of Snowmobile Associations (www.snowmobliers.org) to oppose this restriction. Fortunately, commercial guides are not required in Grand Teton NP, where the NPS is expected to permit 140 per day.

There is some good news to report. In June 2005 the Park Service announced yet another amendment to wintertime snowmobile use. What does this mean? It means the administration has given the snowmobile community another opportunity to amend the overly restrictive management rules of the previous administration. We have another chance to influence the long range planning for "Winter Use in Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks."

BRC's legal and public lands staff is tracking the planning process and working with our partners to represent the snowmobile community in order to ensure balanced management in Yellowstone. Chief among BRC recommendations is changing the commercial guide requirement, re-consider daily permit numbers as well as management that benefit the local economy.

Please visit our dedicated website of www.saveyellowstonepark.com for details and updates. Also, I must mention the need for our members to continue to respond to our requests for emails and letters to the Park Service. The planning process will take two years to complete, and there will be several important opportunities to support changes to current management.

I must again offer my sincere gratitude to the snowmobile community who faithfully and generously supported BlueRibbon's efforts to defend our access to Yellowstone. My personal gratitude is shared by our partners, the International Snowmobile Industry Association (ISMA), ACSA, as well as the businesses and individuals who so generously support our efforts.

The fight over Yellowstone has been a long, contentious and complicated battle. Those of you involved in the organized snowmobile community can be proud, however, in that as a direct result of your efforts Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks are open to snowmobiles. This fact represents a huge victory over the extreme environmental movement in our lifetime. Enjoy the victory and make your plans to come and enjoy your National Park this winter on a snowmobile!

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The BlueRibbon Coalition is a national recreation group that champions responsible use of public and private lands, and encourages individual environmental stewardship. It represents over 10,000 individual members and 1,200 organization and business members, for a combined total of over 600,000 recreationists nationwide. 1-800-258-3742. http://www.sharetrails.org

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