Beginning Thursday, the National Park Service will call on the public to give its feedback on their latest ideas for winter use of Yellowstone Park. This is part of the Supplemental Impact Statement which will help inform the final winter management plan expected to be ready by December of this year. The most controversial part of the proposal deals with reduced snowmobile numbers. It would require that all snowmobiles be guided and that only between 110 and 330 will be allowed inside Yellowstone. Cody Chamber Director Scott Balyo says he would like to see substantially more allowed.
"Up to 720 snowmobiles and seventy-eight snowcoaches a day," says Balyo. "We also were looking to have them go back to the opportunity where non-guided snowmobile use would be permitted, at least up to 25% of their count each day."
He also wants avalanche control performed on Sylvan Pass. Balyo says this is important because winter recreation is critical to the community.
"We want to try to give people as much of an opportunity to come in and enjoy the park in the winter," he said. "So they're also coming into Cody, they're spending the night, they're eating in our restaurants, they're shopping, they're taking in our other activities and attractions, they're going to the Buffalo Bill Historical Center. So you know, we've got great visitation in the summer through the park, so we'd like to see that—to the extent that it's possible—in the winter, as well."
The National Park Service is accepting input for 30 days via four open houses, as well as written comments at its website, parkplanning.nps.gov/yell