Recently I posted an article about the Park Service’s latest winter plan, and its proposal to stop maintaining snowmobile access through the high elevation East Entrance to the Park.

The East Entrance road crossess 20 avalanche paths, and the Park Service keeps it open by firing artillery shells to trigger the avalanches. Unexploded ordinace is scattered all over the nearby mountains, posing a grave danger to hikers and wildlife. One Park Service employee has lost his life working to keep entrance open for guess how many snowmobiles? Last winter the number was twelve snowmobiles. Avalanche control costs about $200,000. Divide that by 12 and the result is 😥 There are additional costs grooming and patroling the road.

Now Wyoming’s governor is lying like he does about wolves. He wrote to the Park Service “Wyoming especially wants to emphasize the State’s concern with closing the East Entrance”. “There are numerous reasons not to close the East Entrance, not the least of which is the significant harm such a closure would impose on Cody’s winter tourism economy.” [boldface mine].

. . . not the slightest relation to reality.

Story in the Casper Star Tribune by Amy J. Tripe.

In an earlier article Yellowstone Park spokesman Al Nash estimated the cost per snowmobiler for avalanche control alone was $200. If you do the actual calculation, last winter the actual cost was over $1500 per snowmobile.

Think about that when you pay your new $80 public land access fee or Yellowstone lacks the money to provide vital services.

 
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About The Author

Ralph Maughan

Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University with specialties in natural resource politics, public opinion, interest groups, political parties, voting and elections. Aside from academic publications, he is author or co-author of three hiking/backpacking guides, and he is President of the Western Watersheds Project.

2 Responses to Wyoming is trying to keep the East Entrance of YNP open to snowmobiles at huge taxpayer cost per rider

  1. avatar Mike Post says:

    This is yet another example of where special uses and “for profit” uses should be made to cover the fully loaded special costs directly related to that use. (And then these uses will probably self-limit themselves without any intervention). That goes for timber and grazing as well. To avoid the local influence muscle, this needs to become a federal mandate on all federal lands. Need to build a road to accomodate logging, factor the cost into the timber contract. Need to hire 10 BLM employees to manage grazing contracts, make sure the leases net enough to cover those costs. Not that simple I know, but thats the kind of mind set change we need before we can hope to focus on small incidents like this.

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‎"At some point we must draw a line across the ground of our home and our being, drive a spear into the land and say to the bulldozers, earthmovers, government and corporations, “thus far and no further.” If we do not, we shall later feel, instead of pride, the regret of Thoreau, that good but overly-bookish man, who wrote, near the end of his life, “If I repent of anything it is likely to be my good behaviour."

~ Edward Abbey

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