Winter Use Planning Documents Released
Contact: Al Nash, 307-344-2010
Contact: Jackie Skaggs, 307-739-3393
National Park Service
Yellowstone National Park
Grand Teton National Park
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
YELLOWSTONE/GRAND TETON NEWS RELEASE
WINTER USE PLANNING DOCUMENTS RELEASED
Several documents related to winter use planning in Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks and the John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Memorial Parkway have been released and posted to the Internet. These documents contain information currently being used to prepare the Winter Use Plans Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), which will be completed and released this fall.
The Public Comment Report analyzed, categorized, and summarized over 122,000 public comments received on the Draft EIS. There were four major themes to the comments: keep snowmobile use levels at or below the use experienced in the past three years; transition to snowcoach use only; support for the preferred alternative with suggested changes; and allow for increased use levels.
The Natural Soundscape Monitoring draft report analyzes data on snowmobile and snowcoach sound levels collected at five locations this past winter. Consistent with data collected in previous years; it shows that the use of Best Available Technology snowmobiles, mandatory guiding, and reduced overall numbers has substantially reduced the audibility of oversnow vehicles when compared to unregulated, historic use. A slight increase in oversnow vehicle audibility was recorded concurrent with a small overall increase in vehicle numbers last winter.
The draft Sylvan Pass Operational Risk Management Assessment is the result of a three-day session where experts and observers considered avalanche hazards and possible hazard mitigation strategies for Sylvan Pass.
Results from the Winter Air Quality Study from this past season showed slightly reduced carbon monoxide measurements at the park’s West Entrance and at Old Faithful. Particulate measurements at both stations were similar to those of recent years. Both carbon monoxide and particulate levels remained well below state and national standards.
Two new reviews of a research proposal to assess the impacts of road grooming on bison movement are also being released. They are generally supportive of the research and contain technical comments that will be considered as a final proposal is developed.
These and other documents relating to past and current winter use planning efforts have been posted to the web at http://www.nps.gov/yell/parkmgmt/winterusetechnicaldocuments.htm.
The National Park Service intends to have a Final EIS, a Record of Decision, and a Final Rule guiding winter use in place before the 2007-2008 winter season begins on December 19.
All alternatives in the Final EIS will allow for operations to continue this winter under essentially the same rules that were in effect the past three winters.
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Did You Know?
Yellowstone contains approximately one-half of the world’s hydrothermal features. There are over 10,000 hydrothermal features, including over 300 geysers, in the park.