November 28, 2001
It's the latest second-hand smoke issue: motorized vs. nonmotorized winter sports. Snowmobile and snowplane enthusiasts say they have the right to enjoy their public lands; skiers and snowshoers say they have the right to enjoy winter quiet and solitude that is incompatible with noisy and polluting machines.
In one of its 11th-hour rules, the Clinton administration banned snowmobiles and snowplanes in Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks beginning in 2003. The parks were sued by International Snowmobile Manufacturers Association, the State of Wyoming and others in response. The Bush administration settled the case by agreeing to revisit the Environmental Impact Statement; a new draft is due at the end of January.National Park Service press release.
A new report by Winter Wildlands Alliance, "Losing Ground: The Fight to Preserve Winter Solitude," offers contacts and examples of motorized-vehicle conflicts in parks and other lands in eight states, including Minnesota, South Dakota, and Vermont as well as Western states.