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    Judge votes green in Yellowstone

    Posted by mboncher
    on Tuesday, September 16, 2008
    Snowmobile Winter Use Rule is shot down
    AmSnow Staff

    District Judge Emmett Sullivan of the U.S. District Court of Columbia recently vacated the National Park Services Winter Use Rule from last season. Last season’s rule said that 540 Best Available Technology snowmobiles could visit the park per day. Judge Sullivan’s ruling vacated the entire Winter Use Rule from last year which includes Snowcoaches as well. However, he did not offer any substitute rule and remanded the rule to the National Park Service which can attempt to adopt a new rule.

    The Blue Ribbon Coalition issued a release today regarding the ruling. An excerpt from that release is shown here. “Judge Sullivan’s ruling may ultimately result in there being no snowmobile or snowcoach use in Yellowstone this winter, depending on the Park Service’s response, a possible appeal of Judge Sullivan’s ruling, and the Wyoming litigation. At any rate, Judge Sullivan’s ruling represents a radical departure from established legal principles and interpretations of governing statutes. His broad-ranging and novel interpretations of the National Park Service Organic Act and the Yellowstone National Park Act prohibit the Park Service from approving nearly any visitor activity causing impacts to Natural Park resources. This has the potential to bar a broad range of visitor activities in National Parks year round, including car, truck, RV, motorcycle and other motorized vehicle access during the Spring, Summer and Fall months. It also has the potential to do so throughout the Park System, not just in Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks.”

    Unfortunately for the many snowmobilers, sightseers and other recreationalists, this decision could have possible ramifications of anyone being able to use our National Parks as it shows a lack of respect for the agencies designed to manage these parks. The ISMA, ACSA and BRC are all dedicated to preserving snowmobiling access to federal lands and are involved in litigation in West Yellowstone, The Grand Tetons and other National Parks and lands in order to keep them open to public use.

    In a similar case in Cheyenne, Wyo., another U.S. District Judge, Clarence Brimmer, heard oral arguments regarding snowmobile access to the Grand Teton National Park. Brimmer asked lawyers in the Wyoming case to present options for his court to give the Park Service for the coming winter. For more info on how to help keep our lands open to snowmobile use, visit, or

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