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Thumbs up on Yellowstone snowmobiles

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My wife and I just returned from a late winter trip to Yellowstone National Park, and as an ardent greenie and retired employee of the Department of Interior, I must admit the new rules for snowmobile use are a good compromise for us all. I have to give Gale Norton thumbs up on this one. These snowmobile riders are not rednecks from Wyoming, Idaho or Montana. They are fellow tourists, many from faraway lands. They have perhaps one or two days to view and experience the wonders of this majestic place. A snowmobile gives them that opportunity.

The machines are four-strokers, which means they are surprisingly quiet and fume-free compared to the old two-cycle versions. In addition, snowmobiles must travel in groups of 10 or less at 35 mph maximum, and be led by a guide. No more private machines screaming along the roads at breakneck speeds, as I was told by a snowcoach driver. No more park employees at the entrances wearing gasmasks. And everyone, even the snowmobilers, slows way down for bison on the roads. Yes, one can hear them for a moment, if you are on a roadway as a group goes by. But while on the ski trails one can seldom hear them.

So let’s let bygones be bygones on this one and simply enjoy the park: It is there for all of us.

Larry Kline
Lakewood, Colorado

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