New plans for Yellowstone

  Managers in Yellowstone National Park just released a plan that could leave the park's 2.2 million acres of backcountry a little more organized. The draft backcountry management plan suggests classifying the park into three management zones. Most people would visit the threshold zone, which surrounds roads and developed areas in the park. It would have no campsites and short, wide, well-maintained trails. Beyond the threshold area, hikers would enter the backcountry zone. Here, trails would be classified into three use levels to give visitors an idea of the solitude they might expect in any given place, and campsites would be limited to the present 303 spots. Only groups of four or fewer people could enter the third, pristine zone. This remote zone encompasses most of the park and would have no designated campsites, trails, signs or bridges. In addition, the 145-page plan calls for closing a slightly larger section of Yellowstone Lake to motorboats, and defining specific limits of acceptable change in areas with high human impact. Park biologist Tom Olliff says so far the plan has met no public opposition. To receive the Yellowstone National Park Draft Backcountry Management Plan, or to comment by March 25, write Superintendent, attn. Backcountry Management Plan, P.O. Box 168, Yellowstone National Park, WY 82190 (307/344-2013).

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