Department of the Interior

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Office of the Secretary
Contact: John Wright
October 15, 2004
Secretary Gale A. Norton Statement: Federal Court Ruling Overturns Clinton Administration Ban on Citizen Snowmobile
Access to Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks

ANCHORAGE, Alaska - Secretary Gale A. Norton today issued the following statement in reaction to a Federal court ruling that struck down a Clinton-era ban on public snowmobile access to Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks and the John D. Rockefeller, Jr., Memorial Parkway:

"As Secretary of the Interior, I believe in the balanced and responsible enjoyment of our national parks. In Yellowstone and Grand Teton, I have advocated a common sense solution for snowmobile use that protects resources while also allowing appropriate access for enjoyment by the public. I also believe we must work cooperatively with states and local communities when making decisions that have significant impacts to their economies.

"This decision overturns the plan set in motion by the previous administration that was rejected by a bipartisan majority of the U.S. House of Representatives.

"Having received this Court's preliminary injunction last February, we anticipated this outcome. With that knowledge, and with the direction of a separate federal court, the National Park Service has been developing interim regulations that strike a common sense balance for the coming winter season. The public comment period for the regulation closed days ago and we are on our way to address any remaining concerns which may arise from this decision.

"We are committed to allowing responsible winter access through cleaner operating
4-cycle machines, restricting snowmobiles to the same paved roads that are used by vehicles in the summer months. Visitors and wildlife will remain under the watchful eye of experienced guides."



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