By Kristin Espeland
Laramie, WY – Language in a congressional spending bill
would allow snowmobiles to continue operating in Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks in case the Park Service rules continue to be caught up in court.
The provision was added by Montana Senator Conrad Burns. A spokesman for the senator says Burns is working with the Park Service, and that the agency would still have the final say on snowmobile use.
But the senator says it's important NOT to let what he calls "activist judges" and "frivolous lawsuits" threaten communities and businesses that rely on winter tourism. Both parks currently are operating under interim rules that allow snowmobiles, but limit the number that can be in the park on any given day. Those rules run through this coming winter. Amy McNamara of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition calls the Burns provision bad policy. She says more and more winter visitors are opting for less-polluting snowcoach tours instead of