Yellowstone, still noisy after all these years

Brodie Farquhar is writing in New West about the snowmobiles in Yellowstone, which are supposed to be much quieter now with their 4-stroke engines.

I didn’t realize this, but the Park is going to have yet another comment period on snowmobiles. This time it is on a draft environmental impact statement that will be released in late winter.

Read also from the Jackson Hole News and Guide. “Noise still a problem with park sled use: Former park employees say snowmobiles exceed Yellowstone noise limits, should be banned.” By Cory Hatch.




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  1. Bob Ostler Avatar
    Bob Ostler

    Shortly after its formation the Coalition lost touch with reality and simply became another whining organization. Instead of engaging in productive debate they followed the GYC into irrelevance. Don’t much care about the Coalition of Retired Whiners, but I was sorry to see the GYC go over to the dark side. For the first few years of its existence it held out considerable promise.

  2. Rick Hammel Avatar
    Rick Hammel

    Let’s say, for aruements sake, a snowmobile emits 85 db@0.5 meter. Let’s say that at 25 meters, the level is 60db. Add another sled and that increases the sound level by 10%. That brings the level at 25m to 66db. Add a third machine and the level increases to 72db, and so on. Get to ten machines and the noise level is 120db. Remember, this is hypothetical. The actual level is probably much lower. But hearing injury to humans occurs somewhere around 95 db for a period of around an hour. Wildlife is at risk to much lower level and for a shorter dose period.

    The bottom line here is:quieter machines and smaller groups. Also spacing between groups is very critical, otherwise, you begin to get higher sound levels.


Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan’s Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of “Hiking Idaho.” He also wrote “Beyond the Tetons” and “Backpacking Wyoming’s Teton and Washakie Wilderness.” He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.

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