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Wyoming Loses Snowmobile Appeal

YNP snowmobile

The Tenth Circuit has dismissed a lawsuit launched by the state of Wyoming and Park County challenging federal rules that limit the daily number of snowmobiles allowed into the Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks, saying that the state’s claim that the rules hurt the state’s tourism industry was purely speculative. The appeals court sided with the National Parks Conservation Association and the U.S. Department of the Interior in affirming a lower court ruling. The issue originated in 1997 when environmental and recreational groups began seeking to limit the number of the vehicles allowed in the Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks and on the John D. Rockefeller Jr. Memorial Parkway, and it has continued to be debated in the courts for the past 15 years. Then, the state of Wyoming and Park County filed suits against the Department of Interior in 2009, challenging rules adopted that year.  The International Snowmobile Manufacturers Association Inc. later intervened on the side of the plaintiffs and the National Park Conservation Association joined the defense. The 2009 rule expired last year; but park officials extended it through this winter, and it is to be replaced with a final winter use plan before the next winter season.

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