By Ruffin Prevost
CODY, Wyoming | Fri Feb 22, 2013 7:11pm EST
(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.