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Interim Winter Use Plan 2009

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On October 15, 2009, the Intermountain Regional Director signed a Finding of No Significant Impact for the 2009 Yellowstone Interim Winter Use Plan based upon the 2008 Winter Use Plans Environmental Assessment.

The decision allows up to 318 snowmobiles and 78 snowcoaches per day into Yellowstone for the next 2 winters (through the winter of 2010-11). All snowmobiles will have to be commercially guided and conform to Best Available Technology (BAT) emission and sound level requirements. Snowmobile and snowcoach travel will continue to be restricted to existing park roads groomed for their use.

Background:

On September 15, 2008, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia issued an opinion that vacated and remanded to the NPS the 2007 Final Environmental Impact Statement, 2007 Record of Decision, and 2007 Final Rule.

Because the Court's ruling left no provision in place for snowmobile or snowcoach use, the National Park Service issued the 2008 Winter Use Plans Environmental Assessment on November 3, 2008. A proposed rule was published in the November 5, 2008 Federal Register.

On November 7, 2008, however, the U.S. District Court for the District of Wyoming issued an order reinstating the 2004 rule for snowmobile and snowcoach use in Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks and the John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Memorial Parkway. The 2004 rule allows up to 720 BAT, guided snowmobiles into Yellowstone, and up to 78 snowcoaches per day. The 2004 rule was to be in effect until the NPS could promulgate an acceptable rule to takes its place.