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Based on visitor feedback, Yellowstone National Park (Park) implemented a pilot program during the 2016-2017 winter season for the purpose of encouraging concessioners to provide daily, reasonably-priced, one-way oversnow transportation to and from the West Entrance and Old Faithful, and to and from the South Entrance and Old Faithful. To achieve this goal, two unused transportation events were distributed by lottery to interested concessioners already providing oversnow transportation services.
Under the pilot program, the selected concessioners provide shuttle service on a schedule that accommodates visitors both going to and leaving from Old Faithful and provides for lower rates than guided interpretive tours. Given the success of the pilot during the following 2017-2018 operating season in meeting visitor needs, the Park has decided to explore options for providing this important visitor service on a longer-term basis.
While the Park continues the necessary research to evaluate mechanisms for providing this service, the pilot will be continued for one additional year, during the 2018-2019 winter season. The pilot will provide for continuity of service and generate data that will inform the evaluation of longer-term options.
As stated in the winter use final rule, “the Superintendent may… make limited changes to the transportation events allocated to each entrance, after taking into consideration the location of wintering wildlife, appropriate snow cover, public safety, avalanche conditions, park operations, utilization rates, visitor experiences, or other factors.” 36 C.F.R. § 7.13 (l)(10)(xiii) Park resource and compliance specialists evaluated the extension of this pilot and determined that the impacts from moving a transportation event to the West Entrance would not exceed established thresholds. However, if the additional transportation event at the West Entrance proves to adversely affect Park resources, the Superintendent has the authority to adjust transportation events around the Park in order to protect resources. The Park looks forward to continuing to offer services that meet visitor needs while protecting Park resources and anticipates being able to make a determination regarding the future of oversnow shuttle service prior to the 2019-2020 winter season.
Last updated: August 6, 2018