Editorial: Limit snowmobiles in Yellowstone

"In the past few years, there have been two encouraging developments affecting the National Park Service. The first was the approval of a revised management policy that reinforced the park service’s historic commitment to conserving natural resources. The second was the appointments of Dirk Kempthorne, the interior secretary, and Mary Bomar, the director of the National Park Service, who both promised to be guided by that commitment.

We encourage Mr. Kempthorne and Ms. Bomar to honor that promise in setting the rules for snowmobile use in the national parks. In Yellowstone, officials have released the details of a proposed winter use plan that would allow 540 snowmobiles a day into the park. That looks like a substantial reduction from the 720 snowmobiles per day proposed in an earlier plan. In fact, it is more than double the average number that have entered the park over the past three seasons.

This new plan conflicts with the findings of a team of scientists who studied the effect of snowmobiles on wildlife in Yellowstone. The scientists argue that Yellowstone’s animal population would be best served if the number of snowmobiles remained at or below the average in the years they studied — about 250 snowmobiles a day or less. Above that level, they say, the disturbance to animals is unacceptable."

Get the Story:
Setting Limits on Snowmobiles (The New York Times 10/16)

$rl Department of the Interior - http://www.doi.gov
National Park Service - http://www.nps.gov

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