®: CRE Regulatory Action of the Week
Snowmobiles Prohibited In Yellowstone National Park
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For years there has been a controversy regarding the use of snowmobiles in Yellowstone National Park. In that two U.S. District Court judges have rendered conflicting opinions, the 1983 Park Service regulations govern. The regulations state: "Snowmobiles are prohibited except where designated and only when their use is consistent with the park's natural, cultural, scenic and aesthetic values, safety considerations, park management objectives, and will not disturb wildlife or damage park resources." Furthermore, and of equal importance is the fact that the presumption against snowmobile use is the baseline from which the Park Service must consider any allowance of use. Notwithstanding news reports to the contrary, the 1983 Park Service regulations are clear, precise and govern the operation of the Park--there is no "legal vacuum". CRE has been asked to opine on this matter and has communicated its findings to the appropriate Assistant Secretary of Interior who has managerial jurisdiction over the Park.