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Sat Feb 23, 2013, 03:54 AM

Yellowstone in compromise plan over park snowmobile traffic

Source: Reuters

Yellowstone in compromise plan over park snowmobile traffic
Ruffin Prevost Reuters
7:14 p.m. EST, February 22, 2013

CODY, Wyoming (Reuters) - Yellowstone National Park plans to allow more snowmobiles to traverse its neat, snowy roads on peak winter travel days while cutting noise and air pollution under a compromise proposal to balance environmental concerns with recreation.

This could end years of squabbling over snow traffic limits in the park and ultimately allow up to 480 snowmobiles on the busiest days, such as national holidays. This would be balanced by much lower traffic over the rest of the winter.

Yellowstone, home to the Old Faithful geyser, draws winter visitors seeking the solitude of its pristine vistas to watch wildlife or ski. Some environmentalists and visitors are concerned that heavy traffic could spoil the mood and add to pollution.

Under the plan, which will be phased in over three years, the National Park Service will manage snowmobile and snow coach traffic by allowing up to 110 daily so-called "transportation events." It would ultimately allow an average of 342 snowmobiles per day to travel in groups in the park, and operators could bring in more on peak days if there was lower traffic at other times.


Read more: http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/nationworld/sns-rt-us-usa-environment-yellowstonebre91m00l-20130222,0,4412211.story

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Arrow 22 replies Author Time Post
Reply Yellowstone in compromise plan over park snowmobile traffic (Original post)
Judi Lynn Feb 2013 OP
Earth_First Feb 2013 #1
Android3.14 Feb 2013 #2
MrsMatt Feb 2013 #4
Android3.14 Feb 2013 #5
MrsMatt Feb 2013 #7
Android3.14 Feb 2013 #9
Thor_MN Feb 2013 #6
Android3.14 Feb 2013 #11
Thor_MN Feb 2013 #15
Android3.14 Feb 2013 #17
Thor_MN Feb 2013 #19
rwiliff Feb 2013 #20
Thor_MN Feb 2013 #21
Robb Feb 2013 #3
another_liberal Feb 2013 #8
mountain grammy Feb 2013 #10
Sunlei Feb 2013 #12
Crepuscular Feb 2013 #13
Judi Lynn Feb 2013 #14
catchnrelease Feb 2013 #22
madville Feb 2013 #16
Android3.14 Feb 2013 #18

Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Sat Feb 23, 2013, 07:24 AM

1. I love it: "winter draws visitors seeking solitude"

Zipping around at 60 mph while burning fossile fuels and harassing wildlife with the sounds and emmisions from snowmobiles.

Want to see Old Faithful? Here you go:

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Response to Earth_First (Reply #1)

Sat Feb 23, 2013, 07:49 AM

2. Used to think so too, but

I live in northern Maine and went snowmobiling for the first time a few weeks ago.
It was amazing.
Unless there is something wrong with the engine, the smells are no worse than with other vehicles, and the noise is as much a part of the experience as the roar of the crashing waves while on a surfboard or the screech of the wind while skydiving.
Riding one of those machines is like cruising on a steed that is equal parts jackrabbit and chainsaw.
The responsiveness of the sled was the surprising part to me. I could control it by leaning and pushing into the frame of the vehicle. It was exactly like riding a sled as a child, but I could do the same moves going uphill and downhill, and the steeper the hill, the more fun it was to climb.
But the biggest delight was the scenery and completely different vision of the North Maine Woods. Screaming along a ridgeline with a heart stopping sunset to your left, pure white snow all around and a speed of 50-80 miles per hour is a rush that had me hollering in my helmet because there was no other way to express it.
The off-the-grid snowmobile clubhouses are free, have stoves, wood fuel and fresh water for people, offering a place for riders to stop.
The groups of snowmobilers take their responsibilities seriously, signalling oncoming riders to let them know when the last rider has passed or of dangers up the trail. Landowners provide access to their lands for free, with the clubs express their gratitude with a feast every season.
I'm heading out again this weekend, but this time we will be hitting the restaurants, lakes, and rivers, where, I am told, I can get the machine up to 100 mph and cruise along Maine's winter highways.
Too many snowmobiles would ruin the experience, so I am glad Yellowstone is taking care of that. The disdainful dismissal of the sleds, a disdain I shared until recently, is an opinion based on experiential ignorance.
We could solve other problems with the machines, pollution and noise, through effective regulation. I suspect that tightening pollution and noise controls on lawnmowers would have a far greater and immediate impact, though, than shaking the finger of shame at snowmobiles.

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Response to Android3.14 (Reply #2)

Sat Feb 23, 2013, 08:21 AM

4. I grew up in Minnesota, and

have had experience with snowmobiling (as a teen, I even took a snowmobiling safety class, which included a written and driving exam). Sure, they are fun to ride, but there are too many assholes who have taken up the sport, and are irresponsible and inconsiderate of other users and occupants of the lands they ride on (human and wildlife).

My "disdainful dismissal" is not an opinion based on "experiential ignorance", but rather practical experience.

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Response to MrsMatt (Reply #4)

Sat Feb 23, 2013, 09:09 AM

5. So what your saying then

If an activity has assholes who participate, then we should ban it? That list would be mighty long.
I'm unsure about you, but any critical thinker would see that sort of argument as just slightly ignorant disdainful and dismissive.
Effective exhaust, noise and fuel consumption regulation with the sled manufacturers, efforts to have wilderness law enforcement actually penalize those who abuse the machines, and limitations on the number of riders in an area is a more effective way to go.
Some people actually need the jobs the snowmobile industry creates, some communities actually rely on the income that comes to their rural areas through the riders, and the folks I know who ride are rarely assholes.
They are my neighbors.
Maybe some tolerance, thoughtfulness and understanding are in order?

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Response to Android3.14 (Reply #5)

Sat Feb 23, 2013, 09:28 AM

7. My experience is not yours

and I was just sharing my reason why I dislike snowmobiles. Don't try to read more into it.

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Response to MrsMatt (Reply #7)

Sat Feb 23, 2013, 09:52 AM

9. Fair enough

Sometimes broad strokes are necessary, especially when painting a fence.

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Response to Android3.14 (Reply #2)

Sat Feb 23, 2013, 09:17 AM

6. The noise does not have to be part of the experience

But many think louder equals more powerful, so many off road vehicles, including snowmobiles, are designed to be loud. They could easily be quieted, but they never will be. If one wants to experience 100 mph in winter, why not just drive a convertible with the top down? Personally I don't get the speed aspect of it, but I have enjoyed riding through the woods at moderate (read 10 mph) speeds. Over 30 is insane, unless you are on a lake, in which case it's not about seeing much of anything.

If sensible sound levels were enforced, it would be more acceptable.

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Response to Thor_MN (Reply #6)

Sat Feb 23, 2013, 10:07 AM

11. 10 mph?

Wow, you really know how to carpe that diem, Thor. If you really want an adventure, maybe you can have peanut sprinkles on your next vanilla ice cream cone.
The convertible suggestion was interesting, though.
Hiring the tractor to come out in the woods, miles from any plowed road in order to haul your convertible out of a snowbank would probably highlight one of the slight differences between the two experiences.
Just a little.

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Response to Android3.14 (Reply #11)

Sat Feb 23, 2013, 07:15 PM

15. What can you see if you are traveling faster?

A blur of tree shaped things? Why not just drive fast on a road? I laugh my ass off at people who claim to love getting out in nature and drive past it at 60 mph. What's the point? Also, anyone who would drive a convertible off road at any time would be just plain foolish, wouldn't they?

Have you ever seen the result of a 60 mph snow mobile meeting a pressure ridge on a lake? I have. Didn't work out too well for neither man nor machine. The guy's bones eventually fixed themselves, but the machine was toast.

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Response to Thor_MN (Reply #15)

Sat Feb 23, 2013, 11:43 PM

17. That's just silly logic

If we were to eliminate things simply because a person can hurt himself or herself, then I suspect we would still be scratching our collective asses and huddling at the edge of the veldt.
As far as looking at sights from a great deal of speed, I would guess you've never sat in the window seat on an airplane to see the landscape below or gone cruising across a lake in a speedboat. Sounds like someone needs a little spice in their life.
I swear, this whole I-can't-understand-it-therefore-it's-stupid attitude reminds me of my parents calling Queen, Pink Floyd and The Doors a bunch no talent weirdos.
Next some fellow is going to come out and holler, "you kids get off my lawn...dang kids..."

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Response to Android3.14 (Reply #17)

Sun Feb 24, 2013, 07:04 AM

19. Silly logic is making assumptions about someone else's life which one has no clue about.

I have done both of those things and there are positive aspects of seeing landscape, from a distance, where speed is mostly irrelevant. Since you know next to nothing about me, please spare me the guesses about what my life is like. Likewise, where did I ever say that it should be eliminated simply because of possible hazards? If you are having trouble keeping more than one concept in mind, I suppose I could try typing slower.

Claiming that one likes to see nature, in a forest, at 60 to 100 mph, to me, is pure bullshit. Above 10-15 mph, I dare anyone to see an individual tree for more than a second. Makes for real, lasting impressions, huh? Wildlife, unless you are running it down, is next to invisible. All the while, riding an intentionally noisy machine. The nature claims are bullshit, it's the adrenaline rush of high speed that is the attraction and a background of orange traffic cones would serve as good a purpose. Except that, no, I'm going to blast through 40 miles of wilderness that's really only a blur to me and I don't give a damn about anyone who might actually be enjoying it up close. I'm going to take up as much of it as I can for my own purposes, see how fast I'm going? See how much I can rip up this terrain? A person snowshoeing or cross country skiing can look back at the at the trail they have made with a sense of accomplishment. Any person with minimally functioning brain and a working hand can make snowmobile tracks.

I'm not saying that there are no thrills to be had riding off road at speed, but claiming a love of nature in connection to it is ridiculous.

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Response to Thor_MN (Reply #19)

Sun Feb 24, 2013, 10:50 AM

20. I really hate snowmobiles

I really hate snowmobiles, but I really hate Thor_MN's arguments more.

Warmest Regards,
Robert

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Response to rwiliff (Reply #20)

Sun Feb 24, 2013, 11:01 AM

21. It's fine to disagree with me.

I can't force you to be right.

Have a nice day, Robert.

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Response to Earth_First (Reply #1)

Sat Feb 23, 2013, 07:50 AM

3. The article indicates this is a net reduction in currently allowed snowmobile traffic.

I'm a nordic skier myself, but this sounds like movement in the right direction.

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Sat Feb 23, 2013, 09:32 AM

8. Screw the gaddamned wildlife . . .!

Screw the gaddamned wildlife! I wanna see an eight foot rooster tail of snow shooting up from my ass!

Way to go, Department of the Interior and National Parks Service, you incompetent idiots!

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Sat Feb 23, 2013, 09:56 AM

10. I live in snowmobile country, and used to be an avid snowmobiler

It's a great sport. We live at the west entrance to Rocky Mountain National Park and until a few years ago, snowmobiles were allowing on park roads. The main road is plowed for about 10 miles, but is always snowpacked in the winter. Snowmobiles were allowed to Milner Pass. The ride was thrilling. We would go a couple of times a week and often saw no one else, but there was plenty of wildlife and we waited for them. Elk, deer and moose and ground critters too, all unfazed by the noise of our snowmobiles. I wrote many letters to the National Park Service, but to no avail. The Park was closed to snowmobiles while the tyrant GWB was in office. We still have miles of groomed trails in the National Forest, but riding into the park was pretty special. Glad I had the opportunity while my bones could still take the abuse.

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Sat Feb 23, 2013, 10:39 AM

12. solitude and 'groups of 342-480 snowmobiles'? wish these parks would not allow moters at all and

place in a 150 mile slow overhead gondola system where people could really enjoy the views, the vista and unstressed wildlife.

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Sat Feb 23, 2013, 10:49 AM

13. Yellowstone in winter

Yellowstone in winter is spectacular! I went on a snow cat tour of Yellowstone last January and it was fantastic. I believe that snowmobiles are only allowed on roads in Yellowstone, so the idea that they would be blazing around harassing wildlife is an exaggeration. There are also restrictions limiting the type of snowmobiles that are allowed there, the ones that tend to pollute more are prohibited. It's a national park that has tens of thousands of cars driving through it on these same roads all summer, a couple of hundred snowmobiles don't pose any kind of a threat. If it allows more people to share the natural beauty of Yellowstone in the winter, I think it's an excellent ideait's truly a national treasure.











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Response to Crepuscular (Reply #13)

Sat Feb 23, 2013, 03:42 PM

14. Amazing images. Wonderful. Thanks for posting them. n/t

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Response to Crepuscular (Reply #13)

Sun Feb 24, 2013, 02:57 PM

22. That's on my bucket list! n/t

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Sat Feb 23, 2013, 08:16 PM

16. I kayak and fish a bunch down here in Florida

I wish they would ban all the wave runners/jet skis. All they do is disrupt most areas with noise and wakes.

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Response to madville (Reply #16)

Sat Feb 23, 2013, 11:46 PM

18. Translation

"You noisy kids get off my lawn!"

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