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Mon January 26, 2004
Snowmobile Case Continues
Cheyenne, Wy – The owner of a resort between Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks says his business stands to lose nearly 2-point-7 million dollars by the end of the decade if snowmobiles are banned from the parks.
Bob Walker owns the Flagg Ranch Resort in the John D- Rockefeller, Junior, Memorial Parkway. He testified in Cheyenne Monday before U-S District Judge Clarence Brimmer on how an impending snowmobile ban will affect his business.
Last month, U-S District Judge Emmet Sullivan in Washington, D-C, ordered snowmobiles banned from the parks in favor of access through enclosed snowcoaches which can carry several passengers at a time.
The number of snowmobiles allowed in the parks is being sharply reduced this winter before the ban goes into effect next winter.
Although environmentalists praised the ruling, Walker testified that it has forced him to all but shut down Flagg Ranch Resort this winter. And he says snowcoaches are not a financially feasible alternative.
Because snowcoaches cost around 150-thousand dollars each, Walker says he would have to charge 400-dollars a passenger to make money off them.
Walker was called by the state of Wyoming to testify before Brimmer, who has agreed with the state's request to reopen a nearly three-year-old lawsuit filed by the Snowmobile Manufacturers Association.
The state has also appealed Sullivan's ban on snowmobiles.
Because two federal judges are considering essentially the same issues, it raises the possibility of conflicting rulings regarding the future of snowmobiles in Yellowstone and Grand Teton.