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SNOWMOBILE COMMUNITY RESPONDS TO NEW YELLOWSTONE WINTER USE FEIS

September 24, 2007 6:00 AM

BLUERIBBON COALITION, INC.

MEDIA RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
       Contact: Jack Welch, President, BlueRibbon Coalition
       Phone: 303-324-7185
       E-mail:
brjack_w@sharetrails.org
       Date: September 24, 2007

SNOWMOBILE COMMUNITY RESPONDS TO NEW YELLOWSTONE WINTER USE FEIS

Earlier today the National Park Service released its final environmental impact statement (FEIS) on winter use in Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks.  This is the latest step in the process of developing a long term winter use plan for the Parks.  The FEIS is an important step toward a final decision that will formalize changes and restrictions in snowmobile access to the Parks.

Jack Welch, President of the BlueRibbon Coalition, stated, "We are thankful for the fact that the agency will apparently decide to allow for some level of continued snowmobile access to the Parks.  We are not satisfied. In fact, we are very disappointed by the level and nature of the access outlined in the FEIS preferred alternative.  We maintain ample reserves for the coming fight, which we deem unfortunate but inevitable, over this issue."

BlueRibbon and its partners believe several factors in the FEIS preferred alternative are cause for concern in the snowmobile community.  If adopted as the final decision, the preferred alternative would:

-Reduced daily snowmobile entries to YNP from 720 to 540
-Require 100% BAT and 100% commercially guided snowmobile access
-Close the East entrance over Sylvan Pass
-Cease maintenance of the Continental Divide Scenic Trail,but  
 allow trailering of snowmobiles, between Flagg Ranch and 
 Moran Junction 
-Require BAT snowmobiles for fishing access on Jackson Lake.

"We are certainly concerned, but note the news is not all bad," added Welch.  "This is not a final decision and we will continue our efforts to achieve reasonable management prescriptions.  Regardless of the final decision the Park Service has announced that a "transition period" will occur in the upcoming 2007-2008 season in which none of the new restrictions will be implemented.  We are also pleased that the Grassy Lakes Road remains accessible from Idaho with non-BAT sleds to Flagg Ranch, which is popular with some riders and essential to the continued operations of the Ranch," Welch noted.

Here are the details of this season's snowmobile access 2007-2008.  On December 19, 2007, Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks and the John D.  Rockefeller, Jr. Memorial Parkway opens for the 2007-2008 season.  We anticipate that the temporary plan, that has been in effect for the last three seasons, will remain in effect for the coming season.  Simply put, all entrances will be open, including Sylvan Pass. Total number of snowmobiles in Yellowstone will be 720 snowmobiles per day.  All snowmobiles entering the Parks will be BAT and commercially guided.

In closing, be assured that BlueRibbon and its partners in the snowmobile community will continue the fight to regain a satisfactory level and type of snowmobile access to Yellowstone and Grand Teton Parks. We continue to recommend that you please come and visit and enjoy these two treasures of the National Park System this winter.

For continued updates please continue to visit our Yellowstone-dedicated website at www.saveyellowstonepark.com

The BlueRibbon Coalition is a national recreation group that champions responsible use of public and private lands, and encourages individual environmental stewardship. It represents over 10,000 individual members and 1,200 organization and business members, for a combined total of over 600,000 recreationists nationwide. 1-800-258-3742. http://archive.sharetrails.org

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