No Go for Yellowstone Snowmobiling

Snowmobile tours were once a common site at Yellowstone National Park.

Last week, a federal court overturned the Bush administration’s recent authorization of snowmobile use in Yellowstone National Park. In the ruling, Judge Emmett Sullivan of U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia said that allowing snowmobiles in America’s first national park violates the "fundamental purpose of the national park system
to conserve park resources and values." He added that the White House "failed to articulate why a plan that will admittedly worsen air quality complies with the conservation mandate

"This ruling reaffirms the idea at the heart of our National Park System—that the duty of Yellowstone’s managers is to preserve the Park for the sake of all visitors, and to place the highest value on protection of Yellowstone’s unique natural treasures," said Tim Stevens, senior Yellowstone Program Manager for the National Parks Conservation Association, one of several nonprofit environmental groups that served as plaintiffs in the case. The other groups behind the successful challenge were the Greater Yellowstone Coalition, Natural Resources Defense Council, Sierra Club, The Wilderness Society and Winter Wildlands Alliance.

"This ruling will ensure that visitors are not disappointed by air and noise pollution when they make the one winter trip to Yellowstone of their lives," said Amy McNamara, National Parks Program Director for the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. "We take our hats off to the tour businesses that didn’t wait for this ruling. Their increasing investments in modern snowcoaches are already making it possible for winter visitors to access and enjoy Yellowstone while protecting it."

Source: National Parks Conservation Association