My deadline with the copyeditor of Yellowstone, Land of Wonders having been met, I am free to catch up on all the current Yellowstone news.
Unlike other western areas this month [June 2012], no fires threaten the park yet, but it is still early, and if drought and heat continue there will certainly be danger.
While we watch the summer scene, some people are thinking about the winter one, and a long and excellent article appeared this week about the still-unsettled plan for snowmobile and snowcoach access next winter. You can find all the details at: http://www.yellowstonegate.com/2012/06/yellowstone-draft-winteruse-plan-allows-110-transportation-events-daily-keeps-sylvan-pass-open.
Scroll down on that site for a list of all the documents on winter use since discussion began in 2000.
In brief: a plan preferred by the park service has been put forth that states that there may be “a maximum of 480 snowmobiles in the park” but “the average maximum use would be 342 snowmobiles per day.” It gets more complicated from there on and now calls what were “sound events,” “transportation events.” An improvement in language?
Some groups of snowmobiles led by unpaid guides would be allowed in each day, in addition to professionally guided tours. The East Entrance over Sylvan Pass (always a controversial subject) would remain open in winter.
Public meetings on the subject will be held in mid July, and comments from the public will be received for 45 days.