Yellowstone Park Update Nov 08


On November 7, 2008, Judge Clarence Brimmer of the U.S. District Court for the District of Wyoming issued an Order Implementing Temporary Remedy in case no. 07-CV-0318-B, a challenge to the National Park Service's December 13, 2007 final winter use rule regarding recreational snowmobile access to the Parks.

The Wyoming Court, which has asserted continuing jurisdiction over the agency's winter use planning and review process since its opinion in Wyoming Lodging and Restaurant Ass'n v. U.S. Dep't of Interior (2004), first chastised the D.C. Court (Judge Sullivan) for issuing its Order in a case in which it should have respected the Wyoming Court's jurisdiction, and for stubbornly remaining involved despite its distance from the lands at issue and the impacted communities. The Wyoming Court then ordered the Park Service to reinstate the prior winter use rules allowing for up to 720 Best Available Technology (BAT) snowmobiles per day in Yellowstone.

In pleadings filed with the Wyoming Court, the International Snowmobile Manufacturers Association (ISMA), American Council of Snowmobile Associations (ACSA), and the BlueRibbon Coalition (BRC) supported the Court's reinstatement of the 2004 temporary rule to govern winter use pending the Park Service's next try at a permanent rule. The Court's imposition of the prior rule, raising the numerical limit, ensures the Parks will remain open to snowmobile traffic pending the Park Service's release of a new permanent rule.

ISMA, ACSA and BRC anticipate a further ruling from the Court on the merits of its, and the other Plaintiffs', challenges to the 2007 winter use rule, at an undetermined time in the future.

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