PARK SERVICE REOPENS COMMENT PERIOD ON DRAFT SEIS

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September 19, 2012 7:58 PM

SITUATION
The National Park Service (NPS) has prepared a Draft Winter Use Plan and Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (Draft Plan/SEIS) for Yellowstone National Park. The purpose of the Winter Use Plan is to establish a management framework for Yellowstone's unique and valuable winter recreational resources.

This plan will determine whether motorized winter use of the park (including 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 and/or snowcoach use should continue, and if so, under what limits and restrictions. The draft SEIS evaluated 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 Draft Plan/SEIS originally closed August 20, 2012, but has been reopened and now ends October 9, 2012. It is extremely important that the National Park Service again hear from you.

SNOWMOBILERS, YOU NEED TO COMMENT BY OCTOBER 9, 2012.

NOTE: Comments may be submitted through the NPS website, by mail or hand delivered to park headquarters in Mammoth Hot Springs, WY. Comments will not be accepted by fax, email, or in any other way than those specified above. Bulk comments in any format (hard copy or electronic), submitted on behalf of others, will not be accepted.

The National Park Service intends to open the Park for the 2012-2013 season under an extended "one-year-rule."  This means that, starting December 15, 2012, 318 commercially guided Best Available Technology (BAT) snowmobiles and 78 commercially guided snowcoaches will be allowed.
The proposed extension will also continue to provide access for motorized travel from the East Entrance road over Sylvan Pass.

The Park Service will have a final SEIS, Record of Decision and final rule guiding winter use in place before the start of the 2013-2014 winter season; about a year from now.

For up-to-date information on the Yellowstone Winter Use Issue, go to our website www.saveyellowstonepark.com.

For questions and other information, contact Al Nash or Dan Hottle at (307) 344-2015. More info is also available on the web at: http://parkplanning.nps.gov/YELL

WHAT YOU NEED TO DO:
BlueRibbon has formed the Yellowstone Task Force, which is made up of state and national snowmobile leaders, the snowmobile industry, commercial tour operators, representatives from the affected gateway communities and elected officials at the county, state and national level. These groups have reviewed the draft plan and SEIS, and have suggested comments.  Snowmobile enthusiast NEED to comment on the draft SEIS. 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 Here. This link will take you to the NPS comment webpage.  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 DRAFT SEIS, P.O. Box 168, Yellowstone NP, WY 82190.

NOTE: Comments will not be accepted by fax, email, or in any other way than those specified above. Bulk comments in any format (hard copy or electronic), submitted on behalf of others, will not be accepted.

COMMENT SUGGESTIONS:

I support continued Winter access to Yellowstone National Park by snowmobiles. However, I do not support Alternatives 1 and 3 as the way to provide for that continued snowmobile access.  I do support the vision of Alternate 4: "Manage Over Snow Vehicles use by Transportation Events" and using the current BAT standards. Here are my comments:

+ The testing of snowmobiles for emission levels should be conducted according to current EPA testing procedures at the snowmobile's cruising speed in the Park. The Park Service should continue to use current BAT standards in all alternatives for the Winter Use Planning.  The Park Service's data from the current Draft SEIS shows NO impairment to the Park resources from using current BAT standards.

+ The testing of snowmobiles for sound levels should be conducted according to SAE J1161 protocols at the snowmobile's cruising speed in the Park. The current BAT level for sound should be maintained in all alternatives because those standards create NO impairment, based on the Park's research.  The testing of snowmobiles should be in the manner that they are ridden in the Park.

+ Non-commercially guided access to the Park needs to be expanded in the final SEIS.  There is a need for more than one non-commercially guided entry into the Park from each gate a day; this needs to be reassessed.

+ It is important to have the two-year transition period after the current SEIS process is completed in late 2013.

+ In the final SEIS, Winter access for both snowmobiles and snowcoaches to the Park should be continued over Sylvan Pass from the East Gate. This access is important to visitors. There continues to be interest in both snowmobile and snowcoach from the East Gate.

+ Please leave all speed limits in the Park at the current historic levels.  Changing the current speed levels in the Park could affect visitors' ability to see all of the Park's unique sights.

+ The requirement for all visitors to carry avalanche rescue gear in the Park should be eliminated.  Visitors to the Park do not need shovels, probes, and transceivers.   Note: Snowmobile Guides do carry emergency and first aid equipment.

+ Please keep me informed as the SEIS process moves forward.

Sincerely,

Signature ___________________________________________

(Please Print) Name______________________________________________

Address________________________________________________________

City__________, State or Province ______ Zip or Postal Code __________

Note: COMMENT PERIOD ON DRAFT SEIS ENDS ON October 9, 2012

Click here to print out the above comments as mailable form letter.
 

Reminder the COMMENT PERIOD ON DRAFT SEIS ENDS ON OCTOBER 9, 2012
 

 


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. The Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) season is here. 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 or http://www.sharetrails.org
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