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Park Service Announces Final Rule To Continue Winter Access To Yellowstone National Park

October 24, 2013 5:15 PM
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JACKSON HOLE, WY (October 24, 2013) -- The National Park Service (NPS) has announced the release of a final Rule/Regulation for Winter Use of Yellowstone.  The publishing of the final Rule officially completes the Winter Use Plan/Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) process.  The final Rule assures continued access to Yellowstone in Winter by both snowmobiles and snowcoaches.

The creation of a "New Final Regulation" to implement the Record of Decision (ROD) was published in the Federal Register on October 22, 2013.

And now for the Good News.  The Final Rule/Regulation for Winter Use shows that our collective comments on the "Proposed Rule", which ended June 17, 2013, have been heard. The Final Rule will provide a framework for more effectively managed access for snowmobiles and snowcoaches in Yellowstone National Park while minimizing impacts on visitors, air/sound quality, and wildlife.  This final regulation, will guide management of winter use in the Park and will implement the preferred alternative from the Final SEIS.

Under the final Rule, the winter of 2013/2014 will be a transition year during which the Park will allow motorized over-snow travel under the same conditions in place for the past four winters.  Up to 318 commercially guided Best Available Technology (BAT) snowmobiles and up to 78 commercially guided snowcoaches will be allowed daily. 

Starting in the 2014/2015 winter season the Park would permit up to 110 "transportation events" daily, initially defined as one snowcoach or a group of up to 10 snowmobiles, averaging seven snowmobiles per group, per season.  Up to 50 transportation events may be groups of snowmobiles.  Management by transportation events is an impact-centric approach designed to minimize the impact of oversnow vehicles (OSVs) on air quality, soundscapes, and wildlife; rather than focusing solely on the number of vehicles entering the Park. 

This new, practical approach to OSV management by "transportation events" will  provide greater flexibility for OSV commercial tour operators, reward future OSV technological innovations, and reduce OSV- caused environmental impacts, all while making the park cleaner and quieter than previously authorized. 

Another important part of the final Rule is that four transportation events per day (one per gate) would be reserved for non-commercially guided snowmobile access, and Sylvan Pass would continue to be operated in accordance with the Sylvan Pass Working Group Agreement. The non-commercially guided access will provide snowmobilers a chance to visit their Park without hiring a commercial guide.

The final good news is that, with the final Rule for Winter Use in place, Yellowstone National Park will open its gates for another winter season on December 15th. Please make plans to enjoy your National Park this Winter.

Check back here frequently (you can use the shortcut:, as the BlueRibbon Coalition will provide current information as it becomes available.

Additional information and an electric copy of the final Plan/SEIS and
Rule are available online at

The Park Service news release on this issue can be viewed HERE.

The Final Regulation Winter Use document can be viewed HERE.


The BlueRibbon Coalition is a national recreation group that champions responsible recreation, and encourages individual environmental stewardship. With members in all 50 states, BRC is focused on building enthusiast involvement with organizational efforts through membership, outreach, education, and collaboration among recreationists. 1-800-BLUERIB -

May 31, 2016 3:24 PM
Some of the many historic OHV routes in the Pine Nut Mountains

BOISE, ID (May 31, 2016) -- Coalition (BRC), a national trail-based recreation group, today slammed recent decisions that would severely restrict off-highway vehicle (OHV) events and trail improvements in many areas in eastern California and Nevada.  The changes, in the name of sage grouse management, were demanded by a handful of preservationist special interest groups.

November 23, 2015 3:16 PM
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MISSOULA, MT (November 23, 2015) --Various organizations, led by the Ten Lakes Snowmobile Club, have filed a lawsuit challenging U.S. Forest Service planning efforts on the Kootenai and Idaho Panhandle National Forests.  The complaint, filed on November 12, 2015, in federal court for the U.S.

November 23, 2015 10:38 AM

POCATELLO, ID (November 23, 2015) – Early last week, the BlueRibbon Coalition/ joined with other recreation groups in a letter sent to the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in support of a balanced approach to managing public lands as part of the Moab Master Leasing Plan.

The letter addressed to BLM serves as formal comments from OHV stakeholders.  It also represents an effort between motorized and non-motorized recreation groups working together for the protection of outdoor recreation resources on public lands.

[Press Room Archive]