Yellowstone still open to snowmobiles Judge's Ruling Limits Access. BlueRibbon appeals the Judge's Decision

December 17, 2003 (POCATELLO, IDAHO) --

By: Jack Welch, President, BlueRibbon Coalition

Bill Dart, BlueRibbon Public Lands Director

Today, Wednesday, December 17th, Yellowstone National Park opened its gates to snowmobiling. This is the thirty-fifth year for snowmobiling access to the Park, but it will be the last year based on a decision on Tuesday, December 16, 2003. The Judge, Emmet Sullivan of the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., ordered to set aside a recent National Park Service (NPS) winter use plan and rule that allowed for reasonable limited snowmobile use in Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks and the John D. Rockefeller, Jr., Memorial Parkway. The ruling severely cut back the number of snowmobiles that will be allowed into the park this winter, and phase out snowmobile use in the three parks in favor of multi-passenger snowcoaches for the 2004-2005 season.

The BlueRibbon Coalition, along with other members of the snowmobile community, today are filing a motion for emergency relief with the Washington D.C. court! The Coalition feels that the plan for winter recreation in Yellowstone this year was a reasonable one and plans to prove that in court.

Jack Welch, President of the Coalition, stated today "Snowmobile access to Yellowstone is important. It is the best method to visit in the winter! Welch continued, "Under the judge's ruling access will be so limited that thousands of families will not be allowed to visit their national park this winter and that is why we are filing our motion today."

Bill Dart, BlueRibbon Public Lands Director, commented, "The new plan for winter access to Yellowstone more than adequately addressed the environmental issues while still allowing visitor to utilize the most popular transportation, a snowmobile. It allowed for both guided commercial visitation and private groups to experience their national park!" Bill continued, "The new decision allows only very limited commercial guide access to the park at levels less than 25% of historical use and that is wrong."

Welch stated in his closing comments "BlueRibbon and its partners in the snowmobile community are up to the task at hand! We will continue to aggressively defend public access to Yellowstone and plan to enjoy snowmobiling in the park this winter."


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