Department Of Interior
|Office of the Secretary
Contact: Mark Pfeifle or
|For Immediate Release: Dec. 16, 2003
John Wright, 202-208-6416
Statement of Interior Secretary Gale Norton Regarding
the District Court Snowmobile Ruling
The final rule that the National Park Service issued is a well-thought-out plan to carefully manage and monitor the protection of wildlife, natural resources, park employees and visitors of Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks while maintaining a quality visitor experience.
The Park Services rule would allow visitors, who look forward to seeing the unique beauty of Old Faithful erupting against a white landscape, to enjoy the park with a significantly quieter and cleaner means of access. Unfortunately, todays outcome may result in many American families, who have planned to visit and enjoy the park, being denied this experience.
The rule proposed years ago by the Clinton administration failed to consider the advanced snowmobile technology currently on the market. Over the last three years, snowmobile manufacturers have developed improved technologies that dramatically reduce sound and emissions.
The added Park Service restrictions of best-available technology and allowing a limited number of snowmobiles is a responsible approach and avoids a complete ban. Allowing the limited use of snowmobiles as a means of access makes possible a wider array of enjoyment opportunities for the winter visitor.
Under the Park Service plan, snowmobiles are used exclusively over paved roads. These are the exact same roads which are used by automobiles to access the park during the summer months, and cover less than 1 percent of the total park area.
The Park Service plan can be adapted to ensure that wildlife, park personnel, park resources and the public are protected. The American people expect nothing more, and they deserve nothing less.
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