The NPS is asking for feedback from working groups, made up of interested stakeholders and citizens, to develop a long-term and sustainable winter use Adaptive Management Plan (AMP), which will guide the park's future data collection on the impacts of winter use. Working groups are sub-groups of the larger adaptive management team, which meets to discuss ideas across topics and provide feedback on the overall AMP process.
The working groups will focus on five impact topics: wildlife, air quality and soundscape, human dimensions, operations and technology and the non-commercially guided snowmobile access program. Each working group will develop a monitoring strategy for its impact topic in coordination with a National Park Service subject-matter expert. Specifically, working groups are tasked with providing feedback on what resource or impact questions should be monitored to address key scientific uncertainties about their impact topic, and on how to design a fiscally sustainable, efficient and feasible monitoring strategy to achieve key monitoring objectives going forward. Park managers will then use the results of winter use monitoring and stakeholder input to make decisions that best protect park resources and the visitor experience.
The Wildlife Working Group will make recommendations to the NPS on the design of an updated monitoring strategy that measures and evaluates the impacts of winter use on the park's wildlife species, including bison, trumpeter swans, elk, lynx, wolverines, gray wolves, and bald eagles to ensure winter wildlife ecology is not disrupted going forward. This group will also provide feedback to the NPS on current and future results of wildlife monitoring and research, and on adaptive management actions that may be implemented in the future as part of the new Adaptive Management Plan.
NPS Lead: Brian Teets (307-344-2653).
Air Quality & Soundscape
The Soundscape and Air Quality Working Group will make recommendations to the NPS on the design of an updated monitoring strategy that measures and evaluates the impacts of oversnow vehicle use on the park's natural soundscape and on the park's air quality to ensure a cleaner and quieter park, and compliance with the new winter use sound and air emissions requirements.
The Human Dimensions Working Group will make recommendations to the NPS on the design of an updated monitoring strategy that 1) measures and evaluates the impacts of winter use on the visitor experience, and other relevant publics, and 2) assesses changes in winter visitation under the new winter use plan and how such changes impact park resources.
NPS Lead: Ryan Atwell (307-344-2627).
Operations & Technology
The Operations and Technology Working Group will make recommendations to the NPS on the design of an updated monitoring strategy that measures and evaluates how winter use operations, under the transportation event concept, and oversnow vehicle technologies can be improved or modified to create a cleaner and quieter park experience, to facilitate cleaner-running vehicles and to generally reduce impacts to park resources.
NPS Lead: Christina White (307-344-2320).
Non-Commercially Guided Snowmobile Access Program
The Non-commercially Guided Snowmobile Access Program permits people to snowmobile in Yellowstone without the presence of a commercial guide. Up to four non-commercially guided groups are allowed to enter the park daily: one at each oversnow entrance.
NPS Lead: Ivan Kowski (307-344-2627).