60-day public review and comment period

YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK

The National Park Service on April 16 released for public comment a proposed rule to more effectively manage access for snowmobiles and snow coaches in Yellowstone while minimizing impacts on visitors, air and sound quality, and wildlife. This opens a 60-day public review and comment period.

The process supports the Final Winter Use Plan Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement released Feb. 22, which would implement the preferred alternative in the Final SEIS.

Under this plan, the park would permit up to 110 “transportation events” daily, initially defined as one snowcoach or a group of up to 10 snowmobiles. Up to 50 transportation events may be groups of snowmobiles. Four events per day would be non-commercially guided snowmobiles. Sylvan Pass would continue to be operated under the status quo.

The NPS is now seeking public comments on specific elements of the proposed rule.

The winter of 2013/2014 will be a transition, when the regulations will remain up to 318 commercially guided Best Available Technology snowmobiles and 78 commercially guided snowcoaches daily.

The proposed rule and an electronic form to submit written comments are available online at regulations.gov by searching in the “Documents Open For Public Comment” and selecting the National Park Service as the agency. It is also available on CD or in hard copy by writing the Winter Use Planning Team, P.O. Box 168, Yellowstone National Park, WY 82190.

Comments may be submitted through the regulations.gov website, in person or by mail and must be received or postmarked by midnight, June 17. Comments will not be accepted by phone, fax, or email.

The Yellowstone Superintendent will use the analysis and recommendations from the Final SEIS and the public comments to make a final recommendation to the NPS Intermountain Regional Director, who is expected to issue the Record of Decision this summe, after which a final rule to implement the decision will be published in the Federal Register.