Judge Issues Yet Another Reversal of Yellowstone Snowmobile Ban

An already-confusing winter for tourists and tour operators in Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks got more muddled yesterday, when a federal judge overturned severe restrictions on snowmobiling in the parks. For those of you keeping score at home, a quick rundown of the story so far: Just before leaving office in January 2001, President Clinton imposed restrictions on snowmobile use in the parks, aiming for a complete ban by 2003-04. Later in 2001, President Bush gave the National Park Service a chance to “further study” the issue. NPS released much milder rules, prompting a 2002 lawsuit by enviro groups seeking to reinstate Clinton’s rules. In December 2003, a federal judge sided with the enviros and imposed sharp restrictions on snowmobile use in the parks. Yesterday, another judge granted an injunction against those restrictions and instructed NPS to issue temporary rules for the remainder of the season. The upshot is, you can go into Yellowstone on a snowmobile. For the moment. We think.