Yellowstone National Park has decided to suspend winter wildlife monitoring beginning this season. Officials at the Park say the decision was made since evaluations over the last decade have not substantially changed.
The Yellowstone Winter Use Adaptive Management Plan, adopted in 2013states the National Park Service will continually re-examine and adjust winter use monitoring strategies and management actions as new information becomes available.
That plan was developed to address concerns about the impact of over-snow vehicles on wildlife and other park resources. Signed in 2013, the plan controls the number of snowmobile and snowcoach trips, called ‘transportation events’, that are allowed each day of Yellowstone’s winter season.
Yellowstone Park authorities say the decision to stop the winter monitoring will not affect snowmobile or snowcoach use in the park, and may allow them to focus on monitoring visitor use in the summer as record-breaking numbers of tourists have shown up in the past two years. That has caused concern about the park’s capacity and the impact on wildlife as the Yellowstone grizzly population has grown and the size of the bison herd in the park has required nearly a thousand animals to be culled this season.