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    National Park ID,MT,WY

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Adaptive Management Program Research and Monitoring

A photo collage with a pair of researchers taking notes on a snowy park road and a yellow snowcoach driving down the snow-covered, groomed road.

The Winter Use Adaptive Management Program includes a strong monitoring and research component so that NPS scientists, NPS managers and the public can understand and evaluate the effects of winter recreation on park resources and the park experience under the new winter use management plan. This information will help the NPS and its partners work together to safeguard park resources, create a cleaner and quieter winter-time experience, and ensure sustainable levels of OSV use.

Guided by the Adaptive Management Plan (currently under development by Working Groups), NPS scientists and partners will collect additional information about social and ecological resource conditions in winter. This information will be collected through systematic monitoring and new directions in empirical research focused on five impact topics: wildlife, air quality and soundscape, human dimensions, operations and technology, and the non-commercially guided snowmobile access program. The information collected will be presented on a regular basis to park managers and the public for feedback, and it will inform NPS decisions about when and how to modify winter use management actions, as appropriate, going forward. The NPS is committed to open and transparent data collection and data sharing, so all data will be made available online via this web page once it is processed and analyzed.

Baseline data collection on winter use is already underway. The NPS has conducted winter use monitoring studies for over a decade, and will continue to build on previous visitor, wildlife, air quality, human health and safety, and soundscape monitoring studies. The NPS is also continuing OSV emissions testing. This information will provide an uninterrupted understanding of natural variability, emissions levels and changes in the visitor experience. NPS data collection under the new Adaptive Management Plan is expected to begin during the 2015-2016 winter season.

Available Datasets:

Did You Know?

Fire in Yellowstone Pineland in 1988

The 1988 fires affected 793,880 acres or 36 percent of the park. Five fires burned into the park that year from adjacent public lands. The largest, the North Fork Fire, started from a discarded cigarette. It burned more than 410,000 acres.