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Debate rages over winter restrictions

Snowmobile travel in Yellowstone National Park will be restricted to 540 trips per day starting in the winter of 2008-09, in a decision handed down by the National Park Service last week. Opponents of snowmobiles wanted a total ban on the vehicles, while proponents wanted to see the current daily limit of 720 trips maintained. That daily limit is somewhat academic, however, as in recent years fewer than 500 snowmobiles entered the Park daily. As always, you can expect a lawsuit.

In another move probably fueled as much by politics as by practicality, officials also announced the Sylvan Pass and the Park’s East Entrance would remain open in the winter, unless avalanche conditions dictate closure due to unsafe conditions. Previously Park officials had proposed closing down the East Entrance all winter, but an outcry from Cody business owners and federal officials forced a reconsideration of the plan.

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