Department Of Interior

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Office of the Secretary
Contact: Mark Pfeifle orJohn Wright
For Immediate Release:Feb. 11, 2004
Statement of Interior Secretary Gale Norton Regarding District Court Snowmobile Ruling at Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks

"The U.S. District Court's ruling defers to the experts in the National Park Service to create a temporary winter-use plan that offers a unique and enjoyable visitor experience and protects park resources. I share the court's high regard for the Park Service professionals and applaud their hard work to establish a plan that allows best-technology snowmobiles and requires registered guides.

"Under the Park Service plan, snowmobiles in Yellowstone National Park are used exclusively over paved roads. These are the exact same roads that are used by automobiles to access the park during the summer months and cover less than 1 percent of the total park area.

"The Department of the Interior is committed to protecting wildlife, natural resources, park employees and visitors of Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks while ensuring visitors have a quality experience. The Park Service's action today avoids both extremes of allowing unregulated use of snowmobiles and a complete ban.

"The rule issued at the twilight of the Clinton administration failed to adequately consider the advanced snowmobile technology currently on the market and the harm that a ban would have on local businesses, employees and the area's economy. Also, over the last three years, snowmobile manufacturers have developed improved technologies that dramatically reduce sound and emissions."

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