Yellowstone National Park officials estimate that the latest study concerning snowmobile access will cost $2 million to $3 million.
Between 1996 and this year, the National Park Service has paid an estimated $6.9 million for several studies on the issue, including an Environmental Impact Study (EIS) in 2000, a supplemental EIS in 2003, a study of rules for a temporary plan, and related research and monitoring of conditions inside the park during the winter.
Like past efforts, the new EIS will look at several scenarios for winters in Yellowstone, ranging from a ban on snowmobiles to limited numbers that may or may not have to be accompanied by commercial guides.
Most of the funding for the new EIS will come from a special Park Service fund for large projects, but some will come out of the park's $30 million operating budget.
The Park Service is taking public comments until Sept. 1. A draft of the EIS is expected to be done by next spring. A final decision is scheduled for the summer of 2007.
In the past ten years, the issue has generated 4,200 pages of study and analysis, 90,000 pages of related documents, and a half-million public comments, reported the Billings Gazette, citing a tally taken last year.
Copyright 2005 Powersports Business