'biles get the boot

  A final winter use plan for Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks takes a hard line on snowmobiles. If approved, the plan will allow van-like snowcoaches on park roads, but will ban snowmobiles completely by the winter of 2003-2004. It's a marked change from the draft plan, released last winter, that would have allowed snowmobiles on some park roads (HCN, 3/27/00: Parks rev up to ban snowmobiles).

Snowmobile advocates reacted immediately, calling the ban a "predetermined" decision of the National Park Service that will wreck the region's winter economy. "There will be extremely limited access," says Teton County commissioner Bill Paddleford.

Environmentalists celebrated the decision. "A Yellowstone winter without clean air and quiet is like a Vermont autumn without colorful leaves," says Jon Catton of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition.

The plan will phase out snowmobiles by cutting traffic in half in the winter of 2002-2003, says Yellowstone spokeswoman Marsha Karle.

Copyright © 2000 HCN and Rachel Odell

To comment on the plan before Oct. 31, write to Clifford Hawkes, NPS, 12795 West Alameda Parkway, Lakewood, CO 80228, or find the report on the Internet at www.nps.gov/planning.

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