|December 15th Yellowstone National Park will open to Snowmobiles and Non-commercially Guide Snowmobile Access will be available!
Dear Action Alert Subscribers,
On December 15, 2020, all the main South, West, Northeast, and East gates will open to another season of snowmobile access to Yellowstone National Park. This access will be regulated by the “Yellowstone Winter Use” final Regulation to implement the Record of Decision (ROD) which was approved in the fall of 2013.
According to the Park Service, the ROD provides a framework for more effectively managed access for snowmobiles and snowcoaches in Yellowstone National Park while minimizing impacts on visitors, air and sound quality, and wildlife. The final regulation will guide management of winter use in the Park and will implement the preferred alternative in the Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement.
Under the Record of Decision and Final Regulation the following will take place; the 2020/2021 Winter Season the Park will permit up to 110 “transportation events” daily, initially defined as one snowcoach or a group of up to 10 snowmobiles, averaging seven snowmobiles per group per season. Up to 50 transportation events may be groups of snowmobiles. Management by transportation events is an impact-centric approach designed to minimize the impact of oversnow vehicles (OSVs) on air quality, soundscapes, and wildlife rather than focusing solely on the number of vehicles allowed in the Park.
This new, practical approach to OSV management, “transportation events”, also provides greater flexibility for OSV commercial tour operators, rewards future OSV technological innovations, and reduces OSV-caused environmental impacts all while making the Park cleaner and quieter than previously authorized and allowing for increases in visitation. Under the Final Regulations up to 500 snowmobiles could be allowed in the Park per day. This is a major victory for snowmobile access to Yellowstone!
Another important part of the Final Regulation is that four transportation events per day (one per gate) would be reserved for non-commercially guided snowmobile access and Sylvan Pass would continue to be operated in accordance with the Sylvan Pass Working Group Agreement. The non-commercially guided access will provide snowmobilers a chance to visit their Park without hiring a commercial guide. The annual lottery is over, however, cancellations do happen, so visit www.recreation.gov, search Yellowstone National Park and the “Non-Commercially Guided Snowmobile Access Program” for availability for reservations.
The BlueRibbon Coalition is proud of its important role in helping to develop the current management plan for Yellowstone Winter Use. For the most current information on the Yellowstone Winter Use Management visit https://www.nps.gov/yell/learn/management/winter-use-management.htm. In addition see the Yellowstone National Park media release HERE.
Thanks in advance and, as always, if you have any questions or concerns, please contact BRC.
BlueRibbon Coalition/Sharetrails (BRC) is a national non-profit organization that champions responsible recreation and encourages a strong conservation ethic and individual stewardship, while providing leadership in efforts to keep outdoor recreation alive and well — all sports; all trails. With members in all 50 states, BRC is focused on building enthusiast involvement with organizational efforts through membership, outreach, education
As a non-profit, grassroots organization funded primarily by membership dues and donations, we greatly appreciate your support. Visit https://sharetrails.org/contribution-options/ to help fund our efforts to protect your trails!