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April 2004 Update for Montana Governors Conference on Tourism


Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks. From February 11, 2004, to the end of the winter season ... Polaris Frontier 4-strokes for 2002, 2003 and 2004 ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: April 2004 Update for Montana Governors Conference on Tourism

Winter Use Planning in Yellowstone and Grand
Teton National Parks
April 2004 Update for Montana Governors
Conference on Tourism
From February 11, 2004, to the end of the winter
  • Yellowstone National Park operated under a
    Superintendents Order that called for
  • 780 snowmobiles per day
  • 400 snowmobiles at the West Entrance.
  • 220 snowmobiles at the South Entrance
  • 100 snowmobiles at the East Entrance
  • 60 snowmobiles at the North Entrance
  • All commercially guided
  • 493 Non-Best Available Technology
  • 287 Best Available Technology snowmobiles

From December 17, 2003 to February 10, 2004,
  • Yellowstone operated under a Court Order that
  • 493 snowmobiles per day in Yellowstone
  • 278 snowmobiles at the West Entrance.
  • 90 snowmobiles at the South Entrance
  • 65 snowmobiles at the East Entrance
  • 60 snowmobiles at the North Entrance
  • All visitors must travel with commercial guides
  • No requirements for BAT

How Did We Get Here?
  • A December 16, 2003 court order required that the
    NPS begin implementing the decision to phase-out
    recreational snowmobiling by the winter of
  • A February 10, 2004 Court Order temporarily
    restrained the NPS from phasing out snowmobiles
    and directed that a temporary rule be implemented
    for winter use that would be fair and equitable
    to all parties.

In the late 1940s First snowplanes came into
the parks
In the mid-1950s, the first snowcoaches entered
In 1963, Snowmobiles were first used in the parks
History of Winter Use
  • 1990 First Winter Use Plan and Environmental
    Assessment completed
  • 1993 Winter Visitor Use Management assessment
    process begins (NPS - USFS evaluation of the GYA)
  • 1997 The Fund for Animals files lawsuit
  • 1999 In January, The Bluewater Network
    petitions the NPS to ban snowmobile use
  • 1998-2000 Winter Use Plan and EIS prepared

History, Continued
  • In November 2000 the National Park Service signed
    a record of decision that eliminated recreational
    use of snowmobiles in Yellowstone and Grand Teton
    as of the Winter 2003-2004.
  • On January 22, 2001, the National Park Service
    published final regulations implementing the
    snowmobile ban.

History, Continued
  • In December 2000, ISMA (and others) filed suit on
    the decision (and amended the suit in February
  • In June 2001, the ISMA suit was settled and a
    Supplemental EIS was to be prepared. The SEIS was
    to allow for more public opinion and look at new
    snowmobile technology.
  • On November 18, 2002, the NPS published a final
    rule delaying implementation of some elements of
    the January 2001 rule.

A New Winter Use Decision
  • On March 25, 2003, the NPS signed a record of
    decision to allow snowmobiles to be used in
    Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks under
    strict limitations.

Under that decision, the following elements were
critical for a sustainable winter use
decision 1. Requirements set for Best
Available Technology 2. Daily limit on
snowmobile use 3. Access by guided only 4.
Implement adaptive management program 5. Develop
new snowcoaches 6. Reasonable phase-in 7.
Fiscal resources in place to effectively manage
the winter use program

Snowmobile Best Available Technology
  • Cleanest quietest commercially available
  • At least a 90 reduction in HC, 70 reduction in
    CO (as compared to a 2-stroke)
  • 73 dBA or less for sound
  • Approved models
  • Polaris Frontier 4-strokes for 2002, 2003 and
  • Arctic Cat T660 (4-strokes) for 2002, 2003 and
    2004 (non-turbo)
  • Bombardier Ski-Doo Elite and Legend Sport GT
    V1000 with BAT upgrades for 2004

Snowcoach BAT
  • Required stock pollution control equipment be in
    place and not to have exceeded its useful life.
  • Sound requirement is 75 dBA
  • Historic Bombardiers initially exempted.
  • Note Contracts allow for 72 coaches only 29
    of which are historic Bombardiers.

Snowmobile Entry Limits
  • Decision 1140 per day maximum
  • West - 550
  • South - 250
  • North - 50
  • East - 100
  • CDST and Grassy Lake Road - 75 each
  • Jackson Lake - 40
  • Historic Average 840 per day in Yellowstone and
    Grand Teton
  • Historic Average High Day 1650 per day

Guided Access Only 80 Commercial/20 Self
  • Addressed concerns related to wildlife and safety
  • Allow private sector to manage reservations and
    guiding services, as well as assist with training

Adaptive Management Implement - Monitor - Learn
- Adjust
  • Allows managers flexibility to try various
    management scenarios
  • Ensures specific resource and visitor experience
    goals are met
  • Depends on comprehensive monitoring for success

Decisions rest on effective Adaptive Management
Implementing Adaptive Management
  • The program called for an annual review with
    changes forecasted one to three winters out.
  • Most changes to be made at local level by
  • More significant changes (BAT, entry limits,
    guiding) notice would be published in Federal
    Register and use 36 CFR 1.7(a) procedures.

New Yellow Bus
(No Transcript)
Current Lawsuits
  • The decision to allow snowmobiles was challenged
    by two different groups.
  • One group, the Fund for Animals, et al, believes
    road grooming is adversely impacting bison
    distribution and abundance.
  • They called for an end to all road grooming,
    except from the South Entrance to Old Faithful,
    where few bison are located.

Current Lawsuits
  • The second group, the Greater Yellowstone
    Coalition, et al, believes snowmobiles are
    inconsistent with the NPS Organic Act and other
    laws, regulations, and policies.
  • They requested that the decision to allow
    snowmobiling be set aside and NPS return to a ban
    on snowmobiles (while allowing and promoting
    snowcoach access).

The Washington, DC, District Courts Ruling
  • The March 2003 decision to allow managed
    snowmobile use was arbitrary and capricious
  • The SEIS did not fully analyze a no grooming
    alternative and did not adequately explain why
    grooming does or does not affect bison
  • Vacated the SEIS and ordered the NPS to implement
    the decision to phase-out snowmobiles.

Additional Lawsuits
  • The State of Wyoming and the International
    Snowmobile Manufacturers Association re-opened
    their lawsuits challenging the decision to
    phase-out snowmobiles.
  • Hearings for a temporary restraining order and
    preliminary injunction were held in late-January
    2004 in Cheyenne, Wyoming. The order was issued
    February 10 granting the injunction.

Additional Lawsuits
  • The Fund for Animals requested a hearing in the
    Washington, D.C. District Court on NPS compliance
    with the December 16 order.
  • The hearing was March 9, and Judge Sullivan
    stayed the contempt proceedings, with a status
    briefing scheduled for April 14.

  • The State of Wyoming and ISMA have stated they
    will appeal Judge Sullivans decision to the
    Washington, DC, Circuit Court of Appeals.
  • The Department of Justice filed a notice of
    intent to appeal.
  • The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals denied Greater
    Yellowstone Coalitions request for a stay of the
    Wyoming District Courts ruling.

What is Happening Now?
  • We are working closely with officials in the
    National Park Service, the Department of the
    Interior, and the Department of Justice to
    respond to lawsuits and to navigate a course for
    the future of winter use in the three parks.
  • However, it would be unfair for everyone involved
    to speculate on what might happen in the future
    regarding current law suits.

What Does the Future Hold?
  • Yellowstone National Park will be open next
    winter for visitors to enjoy
  • Yellowstone will continue working with our
    gateway communities, state tourism offices, and
    other partners to provide accurate information
    about winter activities and opportunities in the
    parks and surrounding areas.
  • Website www.nps.gov/yell/

(No Transcript)
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