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Banning Snowmobiles Limits Park Access

July 01, 2001

I believe your June 28 editorial "Keep 'Hell' Quiet" ignores several facts about the use of snowmobiles in Yellowstone National Park. You state that those who enjoy recreational snowmobiling have vast reaches of national forests to pursue their sport, but that statement ignores the fact that the majority of snowmobile users in Yellowstone are not in search of the snowmobiling experience so much as to see the park in the winter season. Snowmobile enthusiasts do not choose Yellowstone to pursue their sport, because the conditions there allow very little freedom. Most winter visitors to the park are tourists with no means to transport the machines to other areas and limited knowledge of the wilderness.

The snowmobile manufacturers are developing four-cycle, water-cooled engines similar to those used in automobiles that will result in quieter machines. Banning the use of the machines in Yellowstone will result in the abandonment of this work because it simply won't be necessary. The end result will be the loss of access for many park visitors, except for those with the money to pay for the limited snow coach service you recommend.

Jim Walton

Mission Viejo

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