Yellowstone Park has been open to snowmobiles for 47 years beginning in 1963. With Yellowstone's vast landscapes, snowmobiles provide a necessary means of travel in winter and, with Best Available Technology (BAT) models, today's snowmobiles provide a clean and quiet experience for those seeking to enjoy Yellowstone's natural wonders.
Over the years the Park Service, at the prompting of preservationist groups, has reduced daily snowmobile numbers and implemented a commercially-guided entry regime that has left Park County's East Entrance a quiet shadow of its previously bustling character. As a result, the Park Service has in the last decade documented little or no adverse environmental impacts arising from snowmobile use at the East Entrance, Sylvan Pass and the east side of Yellowstone generally.
It follows that daily entry levels at the East Entrance should rise rather than continue to fall. I advocate that daily entry numbers should rise to at least the previous level of 30 per day.
A percentage of daily entries at the East Entrance should be allocated to non-commercially guided groups, allowing those without the means to hire a commercial guide to see Yellowstone in winter.
I further advocate that a second commercial guide permit be issued for the East Entrance to accompany the single commercial outfitter that now provides snowmobile services. In short, snowmobile use in Yellowstone needs to be shifted to the East Entrance where demand exists, particularly for non-commercially guided trips, and where the natural environment experiences no unacceptable impacts.