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Governor Mead Endorses Winter Plan

August 23, 2012 Greater Yellowstone, Jackson Hole, State of Wyoming No Comments
Governor Matt Mead

Wyoming Governor Matt Mead submitted favorable comments about Yellowstone National Park’s proposed Winter Use Plan saying it “allows for market driven decisions, an opportunity for increased access and operator flexibility.”  Mead concurs with the selection of Alternative 4 as the park’s preferred alternative, while suggesting clarifications in the comment letter he sent to Superintendent Dan Wenk this week. Mead says among his comments was a recognition of how the Park seemed to have been listening to snowmobile companies – but on top of that, he says from his personal memories, it is a real privilege to go through Yellowstone in the winter unguided.  He says the questions for Wenk that remain are detail-oriented including what the relationship is between snowmobiles and snowcoaches.  The clarifications also address support for a two-season transition period. His comments support the development of metrics and standards that address increased access.  Mead says the snow machines we grew up with are “long left behind compared with the snowmobiles that are available today,” and we anticipate that the technology will continue to change and the plan should continue to take that into account. Mead admits that there is likely no plan that would be acceptable to some people, depending upon their perspective.  However he says he hopes the environmental groups will take a close look at what this proposed plan represents.  He points out that Yellowstone is much more used in the summer than during the winter, and there is just a much a value to environmental advocates to be able to access Yellowstone in the winter as the casual visitor – especially as it fosters a greater appreciation for the Park’s features and wildlife year-round.

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