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Snowmobiles in Yellowstone(38 posts)

Snowmobiles in Yellowstonemoneyman
Dec 18, 2003 2:51 PM
have been banned. Again.
Good God.OldEdScott
Dec 18, 2003 3:02 PM
Noise is pollution too. Snowmobiles are an abomination. For consistency's sake, I say ban cars in Yellowstone too, but then I'm one of those brainless tree-huggers.

Seems like there should be SOME wild places left alone.

I'd honor any contracts, though. I'm not a NUT.
Ed - Ever been to Yellowstone?moneyman
Dec 18, 2003 3:15 PM
Fully 95% of the park IS a wild place. Very, very wild, as a matter of fact. The roads make up less than the balance of 5%. Snowmobiles are the only practical way for most people to see Yellowstone in the winter. And it is absolutely GLORIOUS, by the way. Unless you ski or snowshoe, Yellowstone is pretty much off limits after the snow falls.

I hate snowmobiles, myself. Don't like the noise, the smell, or the brainiacs who seem to run them. But they are very useful machines in the park.

$$
Many times.OldEdScott
Dec 18, 2003 3:17 PM
And I hate snowmobiles.
2-stroke engines...Alexx
Dec 19, 2003 10:57 PM
The vast majority of snowmobiles use filthy, noisy 2-stroke motors. Even the cleanest of these things puts out more pollutants per mile than a 20 year-old Mack truck with 3 million miles on the odometer does. Why on earth would anybody want to spoil a national treasure with this kind of filth just so a bunch of yahoos can get their jollies?
Why not ban just the engines instead of the entire machines?(nm)TJeanloz
Dec 21, 2003 9:23 AM
2-stroke engines...zeke
Dec 22, 2003 10:57 AM
is that literally true about the amount of pollutants those things put out?
Ed - Ever been to Yellowstone?zeke
Dec 22, 2003 10:56 AM
you say 'winter' but those noisy , smelly abominations continue until the end of may at times.
less restrictive means?DougSloan
Dec 19, 2003 11:06 AM
So, ban loud engines of any type. Quiet snowmobiles would not be a problem, then, right?

Doug
less restrictive means?zeke
Dec 22, 2003 11:01 AM
quiet snowmobiles is practically an oxymoron.
if electric ones were available, then i may reconsider my position.
but i also beleive that those who ride those things are not there to experience nature, but to speed around. yea, they are having fun, yes they have a right to have fun, and enjoy but at what expense?
Good God.zeke
Dec 22, 2003 10:54 AM
strongly agree. cars should also be banned and the park should make accomodations to get people in an out.
q-u-i-e-t-l-y!!!!!! else, why go there?
re: Snowmobiles in YellowstoneSpoiler
Dec 18, 2003 3:14 PM
With all the great employment figures coming out, I'm sure they'll have no problem finding new jobs selling snowshoes.
oh come onmohair_chair
Dec 18, 2003 3:14 PM
thousands out of work? what did all those people do before snowmobiles were around? what do they do when there is no snow? that's just not a very good argument.

cars may drive the same roads, but cars don't put out 100 decibels of noise. I'm glad they are banned. in the past, people walked around and enjoyed it so much, they made the area a national park. but in this couch potato world, I guess walking is what the poor and downtrodden do.
Lets you and me go to Cody next Januarymoneyman
Dec 18, 2003 3:24 PM
And see just how it affects the people. Then we'll go to West Yellowstone, then to Jackson. There are tour guides, snowmobile mechanics, restaurant owners and employees, hotels and motels all built on this business. Tourism is the life blood of those places, and without snowmobiles in Yellowstone, that business is non existent.

Walk? Do you have a clue as to how big Yellowstone is and how much snow they get? Even the buffalo get stuck in the snow. How much chance do you think you'd have? At least you wouldn't have to worry about the bears, though, as they are in hibernation. The wolves - well, thats a different story.

$$
okaymohair_chair
Dec 18, 2003 3:40 PM
I've been to Yellowstone several times, so I know how big it is. But you didn't answer my question. What did all these people do before snowmobiles? Because whatever that was, they can always do that again.
Nothing.moneyman
Dec 19, 2003 7:55 AM
Waited for the summer and toughed out the winter.

What did you do before you got a job? You could do that again, if the government decides to take away your means of providing a living.

Ever been off the road in Yellowstone? That's when you know how big it is.

$$
root hog, or diemohair_chair
Dec 19, 2003 11:01 AM
No one owes me a living, certainly not the government. So if the government takes away my job, I guess I can sit around and complain about it, or I can go find something else to do. Will I be happy? Of course not, but I don't buy into the entitlement system. Considering you seem to be pretty conservative, I can't believe you do either.

I find it very easy to tune out the complaints of people whose job involves harming the environment and disturbing the peace. I don't really care what these people do. The smart ones will think back to the long forgotten days when snowmobiles weren't around (what is that, a decade or so?). They'll buy horses and sleighs and drag people down those same roads. They'll buy huskies and sleds and do dog sled rides. Those with any imagination at all will adapt. The rest can b!tch and complain and go hungry.
Harming the environment and disturbing the peace...No_sprint
Dec 19, 2003 11:36 AM
That really includes all the manufacturing that's done to produce pretty darn much every single thing we use, eat, etc.

If that is the basis of your logic, then why not start with the bigger culprits, like auto manufacturers? or even better, start with the those that demand the autos the manufacturers produce for them.

Bigger fish to fry theory.
not the same thingmohair_chair
Dec 19, 2003 11:41 AM
No one is manufacturing autos in national parks.

Furthermore, autos are a necessity for many people and production can be justified. Riding snowmobiles for FUN is not.
Lets you and me go to Cody next Januaryzeke
Dec 22, 2003 11:02 AM
those two words 'tourism' and 'business' say it all!
I am sure the Market will sort this out.czardonic
Dec 18, 2003 4:22 PM
Surely the snowmobile industry is scrambling to develop a quiet, non-polluting alternative to their current noisy, exhaust-belching line-up.

I wouldn't want to visit a Yellowstone full of yahoos tearing around on snowmobiles, scaring off all the fauna.
Actually, I'm pretty sure that's what was banned...shawndoggy
Dec 18, 2003 4:59 PM
IIRC it's the newer four stroke quieter and less polluting machines that the Bush admin was going to let in.
Where's your other half?No_sprint
Dec 19, 2003 8:24 AM
Too tough to keep it up.
I've lived, worked, and skiied in YNP...Dale Brigham
Dec 18, 2003 9:34 PM
...and I'd bet there is a compromise we all could live with, in this respect. Much of the objection comes from the exhaust emissions and the noise from the snowmobiles, which can be curtailed with newer technologies. The other objections arise from snowmobiles not always staying within the road boundaries, which they are obligated to stay within. I'm hoping more park police enforcement and concessionaire guidance will reduce those transgressions.

While I like to enter the park in winter under their my own power (on cross-country skis), it just aint' gonna happen for everybody. I'd rather see educated and regulated enthusiests on snowmobiles who understand the stresses that wildlife undergo in winter and thus avoid them, than have renegade travelers in the park blasting around scaring the elk and buffalo. I naiively believe that snow machine folks like critters, too.

Dale
Couldn't agree more...No_sprint
Dec 19, 2003 7:42 AM
Snowmobiles are built with performance in mind, much more than a park visitor needs. Though I'm no snowmobile expert, they could easily be quieted and cleaned up with 20 year old technology, not even new.

I'd say not even 5% of the total population could make it around yellowstone under their own power. While reading that, I was reminded of some of the centuries I've done. There are plenty of people out there who are not overweight, just simply not in shape at all to do much of anything under their own power. 25k rides for them on triples through simple rolling terrain? Impossible.
NS and I agree again! What's happening to me??!! (nm)Dale Brigham
Dec 19, 2003 11:48 AM
You gave your blinders to hardbottom! Now he's got two! :) nmNo_sprint
Dec 19, 2003 1:24 PM
'Compromise' always starts from HERE, though, not from zero...Cory
Dec 20, 2003 3:59 PM
Not that it matters in this argument, but I'm almost 100 percent opposed to snowmobiles, for the reasons already given. But the word 'compromise' always sets off an alarm. That's a common call in the West in development conflicts and similar issues: The pro-whatever side (snowmobiles, building, logging, whatever), having already cut, say, 90 percent of the old-growth forest, now wants the anti-whatever side to 'compromise' by giving up half of what's left: "All we want is our fair share of the 10 percent we haven't already taken." That's the kind of approach that gives diplomacy a bad name.
In a perfect world...Dale Brigham
Dec 22, 2003 8:50 AM
...I'd be king, and I'd get rid of personal autos (except mine), outlaw ATVs, and ban snowmobiles in YNP. I just don't think my fellow Americans are ready for that.

I agree with you, Cory, in spirit. I just don't think we'll be able to get more than half-a-loaf in this case, at best.

Dale
What did people do before snowmobiles?Starliner
Dec 20, 2003 5:04 PM
Yellowstone has been around longer than snowmobiles - rather than this decision responsible for putting many people out of work, I see it as a reshuffling of the deck and a new deal, where new business opportunities await to be exploited.

Yes there will have to be adjustment. But maybe some genius will invent electric-powered snowscooters which would address the air and noise pollution issue. Is there enough power out there to charge up all the batteries?

Or, turn back the clock and return to beast-powered sleighs.

Whatever is done, it will take people to make it work, so I don't agree that the local economies will necessarily collapse.
But that's the issue that I have a problem with,TJeanloz
Dec 21, 2003 9:22 AM
The thing is, they're banning snowmobiles, period. They are not addressing the actual problems: noise, air pollution, off-piste excursions. IMHO, they should ban the problem, not the manifestations of the problem. Ban two stroke engines. Ban anything that makes more than 50dB of noise. Current snowmobiles would be banned - but the door would be open to building a snowmobile that addressed the problems. As it stands, your electric snowmobile would be banned [because it's a "snowmobile"], even though it solves the problems that people have with them.
But that's the issue that I have a problem with,Tri_Rich
Dec 22, 2003 5:53 AM
AS I understand it part of the problem is that snowmobiles were supposed to stay within certain boundaries, which they did not. Instead of allowing tourism into the park, the user were treating the area as a big snowmobile playground.

Personally I have no problem with park of the park remaining accessable only by human power. It is that way during the summer, when cars are not allowed off the roads.
Surely humans don't stay in the boundries?TJeanloz
Dec 22, 2003 6:43 AM
It would surprise me enormously if humans stayed within the boundries they are supposed to. Maybe we should just close it off to humans entirely?
Boundaries are for motorized vehicles...Tri_Rich
Dec 22, 2003 7:37 AM
that's the point. Snow mobiles were not upholding there side of the bargin, if people started taking there suv and driving off the road and through the part, it should be closed to cars.
The problemmoneyman
Dec 22, 2003 9:23 AM
The problem is two-fold:

One, the older snowmobiles have two-cycle engines that produce a great deal of pollution. The answer to this is conversion to four cycle motors that run much cleaner and are much quieter. This has already been done, and the machines that were lined up for this year were the four cycle type. Also, a great deal of the pollution - and TV footage - was at the entrance gates where passes are purchased. It is a traffic jam, with lots of machines lined up, stopping, starting, etc., just like gettting into a parking lot at a sporting event. That could easily be solved by allowing local businesses to sell park passes to tourists so the tourists could skip the lines, reducing the pollution at the gates tremendously. By the way, that problem exists in the summer as well.

The second part of the problem is people going off-road, which is illegal and generally agreed upon that it causes great harm to the park. The solution is that only guided tours will be allowed with the tour guides primarily responsible for the behavior of their clients. This is in addition to park law enforcement, so the park is controlled better than most highways. There will always be people who think the laws are merely for breaking, but the vast majority of people visiting are aware of the reasons for the restrictions and abide by them.

The vast majority of YNP is only accessible by human power or horseback. The size of the park is 28,000 square miles. Let's put this in perspective. There are 180 miles of roads available for snowmobile use. All the roads are two lanes wide. For arguments sake, lets say they are 50 feet wide. By doing the math, you will find that the entire area available for snowmobiles is less than 2 square miles, or less than .01% of the total area. Hardly the stuff environmental disasters are made of.

This issue is more about the publicity garnered by the environmental lobby than it is about good and reasonable policy.

$$
re: Snowmobiles in Yellowstonezeke
Dec 22, 2003 10:51 AM
It puts thousands of people in small towns around the park out of work.
that is unfortunate, very much so, but this judgement will increase the enjoyment of the national park tremendously. the noise pollution from snowmobiles is functional to at least 1/2 mile on hilly terrain.

It was decided by an activist judge who is a favorite of the environmentalists.
activist or not, he/she is still a judge.

It was decided by a court that is two thousand miles away and does not have to answer to the people it affects.
any judge in any juristiction need not answer to anyone (unless that judge performs mis-, non- or mal-feasance of office.

It will have no bearing on the pollution in the park, as pollution levels were measured at the entrances as people were buying their passes.
so you are saying that the elimination of noise and smoke will not have any bearing on the pollution?

Snowmobiling was limited to the groomed roads in the park and not allowed in the backcountry. These are the same roads that millions of cars travel each summer.
much more noise pollution from snowmobiles.

The roads account for only a tiny fraction of the entire park area.
as mentioned above, noise pollution for a distance of at least 1/2 mile. also those areas are easily accessible and often used by customers.

It does not take into account that technology has advanced in snowmoblie engines, causing far less pollution than from earlier models.
any level of noise pollution is unacceptable. people go there to experience nature not noise and exhaust fumes.

The Federal Government had contracts with guides that went through 2009. The guides made significant investments in equipment based on contractual obligations, only to have the other part renege on the deal.
the 'federal govt' is not a unified body. if there was a true regeging, then there will be space for a suit.

Its not right.
its right.

The State of Wyoming is appealing the decision. I hope we win.
i understand.
Hey zeke...moneyman
Dec 22, 2003 12:57 PM
I know you're late to the thread and all, and I can appreciate your differing views from mine. But something that you wrote is disturbing, to wit:

any level of noise pollution is unacceptable. people go there to experience nature not noise and exhaust fumes.

I that is true, how would you suggest that people get to YNP, and secondly how would you suggest that once there one gets from A to B? The immense distances and rugged terrain would prevent all but the very fit very few any access whatsoever. YNP is visited by 2 million people each year, and the vast majority never stray from the road or are likely to be able to stray from the road. If you want solitude, there's plenty of it. YNP, apart from the roads, is as pristine and wild as any place in the world. Near the roads, it is tourist friendly. By eliminating any noise pollution, you will make it very tourist unfriendly and eliminate recreational opportunities for millions of Americans to whom the park belongs, as well as the economic disaster that would be created for communities throughout the intermountain west.

$$
I'm late to the discussion as well...Brooks
Dec 23, 2003 4:42 PM
but let me put my two cents in. I live near enough to Yellowstone that a 6-hour drive gets me there. I have biked, skied, hiked, and driven a car through Yellowstone. I have followed the snow-mobile debate for the last several years. To put my bias into the argument, I absolutely hate snowmobiles, Jet-skis (personal water craft), and ATVs. Certainly they have their functional uses, but screaming around in our national treasures just for kicks is not one of them, IMHO.

Moneyman is incorrect in assuming that the Parks are for recreation, their primay function is preservation of the natural environment and animals. Loud polluting machines chasing bison or elk during an already incredible stressful time (winter) is not warranted.

That said, what is missing from this thread is the fact that the Feds gave the snowmobile manufacturers two years to come up with a quieter, less polluting machine. The machines that were tested a few months ago were WORSE than the ones from two years ago! So, no, the industry did not fulfill their end of the bargain. One economic argument from the industry is that no one would buy the 4-stroke machines because they are slower and not as powerful. What people want is more power for going fast and climbing steeper slopes ("high-lining") not fuel efficency.

West Yellowstone and Cody (I don't think Jackson is effected at all) can do very well catering to cross-country skiers and users of the Snow Coach. Hopefully, more the snow coaches will be built and put to use to get winter visitors into the Park. I have applauded the Park Service for instituting bus shuttles at various Parks (Yosemite, Zion, Bryce, Grand Canyon) and hope the program expands. It's always tough to get people out of their cars.

Have happy holidays.
Brooks