Yellowstone to monitor winter use

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The National Park Service encourages public comment on a proposal to suspend one component of the adaptive monitoring plan for winter use, which was initially put in place to evaluate effects to resources in relation to the use of snowmobiles and oversnow vehicles. Starting this winter, of 2021 and 2022, a wildlife monitoring effort identified in the plan would be suspended since the results have not substantially changed over the decade evaluated. This action would not affect snowmobile or oversnow vehicles used in the park or impact visitors. This action is also consistent with the park’s Winter Use Adaptive Management Plan, which stated the park service would continually re-examine and adjust winter use monitoring strategies, and management actions as new information became available. Wildlife monitoring has consistently shown similar response levels over the years, indicating that wildlife are not, or are minimally, impacted. Wildlife response to oversnow vehicles will likely continue to follow observed patterns from the last 20 years of observation. In the future, the park may explore other methods for monitoring wildlife impacts. Yellowstone will renew the winter wildlife monitoring program if unexpected changes occur to wildlife populations or if significant adjustments are made to winter operations and use.

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