Number of snowmobiles allowed into Yellowstone could be reduced

The number of snowmobiles permitted in Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks is expected to be lowered by 40 percent for up to three years.

The new federal proposal calls for a cap of 318 snowmobiles per day in Yellowstone and an additional 50 in Grand Teton to the south, according to the Associated Press.

The plan is expected to go into effect by Dec. 15. The cap will expire after three years. Park administrators will continue to attempt to form a long-term plan for the amount of snowmobiles.

The previous plan proposed 605 snowmobiles per day in the two parks, but U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan denied the proposal in September. He agreed with plaintiff environmental groups that it would increase air pollution, disturb wildlife and cause excessive noise.

Last year, an average of 294 snowmobiles a day entered Yellowstone. But the peak daily use was higher at 557 sleds on one day in December.

Jack Welch of the Blue Ribbon Coalition says the proposal is too strict.

“People will be turned away and consequently it’s not fair,” he said in the release. “Three-hundred and eighteen, no matter how it’s divided up, is not going to be adequate to allow for people to visit their national parks.”

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