The snowmobile issue in Yellowstone Park has died down

It’s still there, but rules have changed, use patterns changed and the economy too-

In a feature article in New West, journalist Brodie Farquhar looks at the changes over times. Snowmobiling in Yellowstone: Past and Present







  1. Salle Avatar

    You know, I would prefer to see the media interview other people besides the same two, Randy Roberson and Clyde Seely, when they write these articles. they never seem to get the whole story and just spew out these quotes without even consideration for any other perspective. We’ve lost a great deal of the democratic function with the corporate news agencies (can’t call them services anymore because they don’t serve the public as they were originally meant to do). they never admit the role played by the temper-tantrum corporate shell game that has been playing out in the gate communities since the late 1990s. The snowmobile manufacturers have had a stranglehold on the economy of these communities ever since they were rightfully challenged by those who want the Clean Air Act mandate of no tolerance for air pollution in such places to be upheld regardless of how much $$ is to be made by a select few. Not to mention the noise factor and wildlife health factors… This also made it such that only those who can fork out $100+ per person per day are now the only one allowed in the park during the winter. I pay for a 12 month pass and can only use it in the summer season since I live a day’s drive from the north entrance where I can enter in a private vehicle… It’s like the wealthy have their designated private playground at the expense of the rest of the owners.

    I don’t think the issue has died down or become any quieter, it’s just that the corporate media doesn’t cover it anymore, probably because the coverage they give this issue doesn’t bode well for those in favor of keep things as they are right now.

    Another point, snowmobiles and coaches are petroleum-based entertainment that is likely to diminish over time as oil and gas powered entertainment goes the way of the steam engine railroads. It’s not sustainable and does nothing but put money in the hands of those who would defeat equality of access.

  2. Ralph Maughan Avatar


    Actually it was me who wrote the headline that the controversy seems to have died down. That was just my impression from reading the article and noticing folks I know around SE Idaho hardly talk about it now.

  3. Salle Avatar

    That’s okay, from reding the article one would think that it’s a non-issue anymore. there is still a lot of discussion nearer the park but mostly it’s a tense hold-your-breath waiting game to see what comes of the new EIS and the new super to see what they come up with. It’s good to know that the “plow the roads” option is ranked at second… I still feel that the issue is poorly addressed by the mainstream pseudo-media. It is just that, too, that made you suspect that the issue has died down some. Perhaps it’s due to the fevered pitch and shrill discourse over the elections that has simply trumped the public’s notice of it for now.

    As soon as the snow sticks to the ground around the park we’ll be hearing about it again, I’d wager. I still stand by my comments about why it’s a dying industry, though. Besides, SE Idaho just got their due with Crapo (wasn’t it?) new wilderness plan, many more miles of snowmobile access in more places included. So why go to the park when you can do whatever you want closer to home?


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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Ralph Maughan