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YNP Publishes New Winter Use Rules

winter vehicles

Yellowstone National Park published its new rule for winter use in the park yesterday.  The rule implements the provisions that were developed through public participation of the past several years during public comment periods and public hearings in the gateway communities.  The plan is rooted in the concept of regulating transportation events which are determined by noise and emissions.  An additional provision was discussed at length with reporters yesterday involving the letting of contracts for winter travel providers.  Superintendent Dan Wenk explained that after this year, existing contracts will expire and new contracting will commence.  Among the requirements of those new contracts, he says will be that the tour company can provide both snowmobile and snowcoach experiences. Wenk says, “If we don’t get bidders in that way, we’ll have to reconsider; but our intention is to require all operators offer both snowmobile and snowcoaches.”  Wenk says the events allocated to the contractors will be comprised of combinations of snowcoach and snowmobile trips each day.  He explains that they would not be permitted to provide purely snowmobile tours.  He used an example of a concession contractor allocated five transportation events.  Wenk says they may be allocated to have three snowcoaches and two snowmobile groups.  Wenk says, “They may never exceed two transportation events under that contract for access to the park on snowmobiles, but they could use up to five for snowcoaches.” The new plan also allows one non-commercially guided group of up to five snowmobiles to enter through each park entrance each day with those permits being issued by lottery.  The new rule does not become effective until the 2014/2015 winter season, with the rules imposed over the past several years remaining in place for the upcoming season.

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