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YNP Winter Plan Enters Final Stretch

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Yellowstone’s proposed permanent winter plan is heading into its final stretch.  The Proposed Rule to guide management of winter use in the park was published in the Federal Register Tuesday, opening a 60-day public review and comment period. The rulemaking process supports the Final Winter Use Plan Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement released on February 22nd, with provisions that Spokesman Al Nash says should be very familiar to anyone who has been following the planning process. Nash says the proposed rule would implement the preferred alternative that was contained in the final supplemental EIS which the park issued a few weeks ago.  That alternative, Nash says, “would permit up to 110 transportation events every day [which is] defined as a snowcoach or a group of up to ten snowmobiles, averaging  seven snowmobiles per group per day.”  Once the 60-day comment period is over, Nash says the regional director will again review the preferred alternative and issue a record of decision and hopefully the plan will be in place for the coming winter season.  Nash says he feels positive that this time, the effort will be adopted. Nash says the park has worked very hard on this latest winter use planning effort.  Says Nash, “We have worked with a variety of interested groups to come up with a plan that we believe will allow us to wrap up this effort and to move forward.” Of course the winter of 2013/2014 will be a transition year, during which the park will allow motorized over-snow travel under the same conditions in place for the past four winters before reverting to the guidelines under the new plan.

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