Washington, D.C. - U.S. Senator Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., believes there is time to come up with a reasonable winter management plan in Yellowstone that will allow snowmobile access and protect the natural beauty of the Park.
The National Park Service recently published rules intended to eliminate Snowmobiling in Yellowstone National Park.
In the last days of the Clinton Administration, the Park Service published the rules in the federal register. This finalized the rules before President Bush took office and ordered a halt to rules that had not yet been published. (Actual printing of the rules did not take place until after Bush was sworn in and issued the order, but technically the rules were already published.)
Bush also ordered a 60-day delay on the effective date of regulations already published.
Wyoming Sen. Craig Thomas, Enzi and other senators were able to pass an appropriations bill before the end of the congressional session that prohibited use of funds to promulgate or enforce the snowmobile ban rule during the 2000-2001 or 2001-2002 winter seasons. This statutory delay forced the Park Service to omit snowmobile restrictions for those seasons, giving communities surrounding the Park until the 2002-2003 winter season to develop a more reasonable winter use alternative. If the current rule stands, however, snowmobiles will be banned from the Park in 2003.
"The good news is that now we have time to work with an administration that is willing to listen to the people most affected by Yellowstone Park management, the people of Wyoming, Idaho and Montana. We want to protect our natural, national treasures just as much as anyone in Washington, D.C.
"I'm confident that working with the new Administration, environmental and economic interests, we can develop a more reasonable alternative to banning access to all but a limited number of visitors to Yellowstone. -more-
The states and counties surrounding Yellowstone were able to collect an extensive amount of information and to develop a unique expertise regarding the management options available to the National Park Service. We don't have to reinvent the wheel in order to develop a management plan that will protect the parks without turning away the people."
Enzi said some of the options available to explore during the next two years that were not included in the recently published rule include: requiring cleaner, quieter snowmobiles; implementing an adaptive management process that would allow the implementation of new technology and scientific advances in winter management; developing a study on long-term carrying capacity of the parks; strict enforcement of posted speed limits; developing ways to disperse visitors throughout the park instead of concentrating them in one or two limited locations; and staggering snowmobile entry into the park thereby reducing the impact on park entrances.