Yellowstone National Park Published New Winter Use Rules - ABC FOX MONTANA NEWS, WEATHER, SPORTS - KTMF/KWYB

Yellowstone National Park Published New Winter Use Rules

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YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK -

Yellowstone National Park published its final rules Tuesday for its new winter use policy.

The new policy would take effect during the 2014-2015 winter.

The new plan no longer puts a cap on the number of snowmobiles in Yellowstone National Park, instead regulating traffic as "transportation events"

An event is either one snowcoach or a group of up to ten snowmobiles.

No more than 46 snowmobile events, or about 460 snowmobiles, will be allowed to enter each day.

But not any snowmobile will be allowed in the park.

Starting in the 2015-2016 winter season, snowmobiles must meet "best available technology standards." The same is true for snowcoaches the next winter.

Yellowstone Superintendent Dan Wenk said that isn't determined by the type of engine in the machine.

"It is a performance requirement that limits the amount of emissions they can have and the sound level they can have," said Wenk.  "If there is a two-stroke machine that can meet the requirements of best available technology, there is no prohibition of two-stroke machines."

Beginning in 2015-16 season, snowmobiles may not exceed a sound measurement of 69 decibels.

Three Bear Lodge in West Yellowstone operates winter snowmobile and snowcoach tours inside Yellowstone.

General Manager Travis Watt said there aren't that many manufactures that meet Yellowstone's best available technology rule, and right now his fleet isn't where it needs to be for the 2015 season.

"There (are) only two manufactures that currently meet the BAT or Best Available Technology and that is Ski-Doo and Arctic Cat," said Watt.  "We've got a couple years to get to that and I believe they both will. Both manufactures are interested."

Watt said he changes out about 10 of his 20 snowmobiles each year, but will have to figure out how to make the ones they just got last a little longer.

"We'll have to do that and kind of figure out to that 15-16 season," said Watt.  "If all goes well we will just run them up to that date we need to get those new ones. And hopefully those new ones will be available."

During the 2016-2017 winter, snowcoaches won't be allowed to be louder than 75 decibels.

Another provision in the policy is guided non-commercial events, but that process is still being worked out.

"Non-commercially guided access is currently under development," said Went.  "We are committed to working with our stake holders and we will have non commercially guided tours fully implemented and operational by winter of 14."

But people wishing to guide their own tours in the park will have to get certified online.

There will be a meeting in Bozeman November 22 to discuss more about this.

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