Yellowstone/Greater Rockies

December 2003

Judge reinstates Yellowstone snowmobile phaseout

In December 2003, a federal judge ordered the Bush Administration to revive a Clinton-era plan to phase out snowmobile use in Yellowstone National Park bolstering a vigorous two-year-long effort by BioGems Defenders to rid the park of the noisy, polluting machines. The judge's opinion cited the huge number of public comments including more than 85,000 from BioGems Defenders that had been filed in opposition to snowmobiling.

The Bush administration's counter-proposal, which would have increased the number of snowmobiles allowed in America's oldest national park to 950 a day, ignored the Park Service's own findings on the dangers of this activity to park visitors and wildlife. The reinstated plan called for allowing just 490 snowmobiles per day in winter 2003-2004, and none the following season, and for expanding the use of environmentally friendly snow coaches.