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Salazar Calls for More Public Comment on Snowmobile Levels in Yellowstone National Park

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Date: July 23, 2009
Contact: Kendra Barkoff, (202) 208-6416

OFFICE OF THE SECRETARY
U.S. Department of the Interior

www.doi.gov
NEWS RELEASE 

Date: July 23, 2009
Contact: Kendra Barkoff
(202) 208-6416


Salazar Calls for More Public Comment on Snowmobile Levels in Yellowstone National Park
Reopens Two-Year Proposed Rule for Public Comments


WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced today that the National Park Service will reopen public comment on a proposed interim rule, first proposed last November under Secretary Kempthorne, to manage snowmobile and snowcoach access at Yellowstone National Park for the next two years.

If finalized, the interim rule would allow up to 318 snowmobiles in the park each day for the next two winters. During this two-year period, the National Park Service will develop a new long-term winter use plan for the park. The average snowmobile use in the park over the last three winters has been less than 300 per day.

“The proposed rule would allow continued access to the park in winter while ensuring the protection of this national treasure and its wildlife while we develop a new long-term plan for winter use in the park,” Salazar said.

The proposed rule would replace the 2004 rule reinstated last fall by the U.S. District Court for the District of Wyoming, which governed snowmobile and snowcoach access in the parks for the 2008-2009 winter season.

It would allow up to 318 commercially guided, Best Available Technology snowmobiles, and up to 78 commercially guided snowcoaches per day in Yellowstone, through the 2010-2011 winter season. It would also govern long-term snowmobile access in Grand Teton and the John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Memorial Parkway, including access along Grassy Lake Road, and on Jackson Lake for licensed anglers.

The proposed rule and an electronic form to submit written comments are available on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov/search/Regs/home.html#documentDetail?R=0900006480795486

and

http://www.regulations.gov/search/Regs/home.html#submitComment?R=09000064809fa1b8

The public can find the proposed rule by searching the “Documents Open For Public Comment” and selecting the National Park Service as the agency. 

Written comments may be submitted through this web site, in person, or by mail. Comments will not be accepted by phone, fax, or e-mail. All public comments on the proposed rule must be received or postmarked by midnight, Eastern Time, September 8, 2009.

The National Park Service intends to analyze the comments submitted last fall and during the next 45 days before making a decision on the proposed interim winter use plan. Depending on this process, NPS is planning to issue a final rule to implement the decision on or before November 15, 2009.

The proposed rule is available on CD or in hard copy by written request to Yellowstone National Park, Management Assistant’s Office, P.O. Box 168, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming 82190. Document requests may also be made by sending an e-mail to yell_winter_use@nps.gov; by calling 307-344-2019 during normal business hours; or by sending a request by fax to 307-344-2025.

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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.