Posted by: Scott | Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Time to Speak Your Piece

OK folks! It’s finally out. The DEIS (Draft–not decision–Environmental Impact Statement). From the NPS Park Planning/Public Comment portal:

The National Park Service is preparing a long-term plan for managing winter recreational use in Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks and the John D. Rockefeller, Jr., Memorial Parkway. The purpose of the Winter Use Plan and Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) will be to ensure that park visitors have a range of appropriate winter recreational opportunities, while ensuring that these recreational activities are in an appropriate setting and do not impair or irreparably harm park resources or values.

The EIS will include alternatives with various limits on the number of snowmobiles that may enter the parks. It will also consider alternatives with varying guiding requirements, including allowing for some unguided or non-commercially snowmobile guided use. In addition, an alternative allowing only mass-transit snowcoaches will be considered. Scoping may inform us of the need to consider additional alternatives.

Supt. Suzanne Lewis already knows that her neighbors to the east feel strongly about this issue. We, the people of Northwest Wyoming call on the greater population of We the People of the United States of America to join us in opposing the preferred alternative to this draft. It is listed as the current plan,” when in reality, the current plan allows for some snowmobiles and coaches to enter the East Gate. This preferred plan allows for no over-snow travel through the East Gate (unless you want to go on foot):

Allows for nearly historic levels of snowmobile use but requires commercial
guides. This Alternative mimics the temporary winter use plan currently in place, with three primary changes: 1) snowcoaches must meet Best Available Technology (BAT) standards; 2) daily limit on snowcoaches; and 3)
Sylvan Pass would be closed to through travel.

I’m going to go out on a limb and say that the best alternative in this proposal is Alt. 4:

Allows for increased snowmobile use, relative to historic numbers. Commercial guides would be required for most snowmobilers; some could also visit the park after completing a non-commercial or unguided guide training course.

This plan would allow for 1,025 snowmobiles daily (600 West, 250 South, 25 North, 100 East, 50 Old Faithful) and 115 snowcoaches daily (46 West, 15 South, 5 North, 4 East, 35 Old Faithful, 10 Private).

The public comment period is open right now and expires May 31 2007, 11:59 PM MDT. You can submit your comment online or you can submit your comment via snail mail, postmarked by the expiration time*, to

Winter Use Plan
PO Box 168
Yellowstone National Park, WY 82190

It’s a public comment period for a reason. We, the public, get to comment. Comment how you feel on this issue. Even if you disagree with me. However, I would strongly encourage you to study the issue before submitting your comment. Talk to people in the area; find out why we feel so strongly on this. Believe me, we’ll be glad to tell you.

*According to the YNP Winter Use website, comments will be accepted until June 4, 2007



  1. Thanks Scott for the update.

  2. This is good info! You should be a reporter.

  3. Talk to people in the area; find out why we feel so strongly on this. Believe me, we’ll be glad to tell you.

    So have you blogged about it yet?

  4. Chris–you’re welcome! Thanks for the supporting the cause from the West Side!

    Jennifer–the thought has crossed my mind a time or two, but at this point, I’m just a regular guy. Feel free to pass the info along in Southern Colorado;-) I’ve noticed that only a few regional media outlets (none nationally) have covered the proposed East Gate change from some to none.

    Austin–Granted, I’ve not blogged much, but I have touched on the issue a few times (am in a rush for time, but will add links to the articles later on):

    Synopsis of Sorts from SOY
    Yellowstone’s Perception Problem
    SOY Forum Tonight!
    Public Forum on East Gate: Mar. 22
    A Possible Solution
    At Bat: Sen. Mike Enzi (R-WY)
    East Gate Saga
    MT, ID: Your Gates Could Be Next

  5. I did some manual digging through my admin side and discovered some other posts regarding the Yellowstone East Gate controversy. To make life easier, I’ve added in a new tag, which admittedly, I should have done a while back. The tag is under Politics>National/Misc.> Yellowstone East Gate

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