Statement by Thomas C. Kiernan, NPCA president, about the Yellowstone Winter Use Plan

 
PRESS RELEASE
  FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date:   August 27, 2003
Contact:   Tom Kiernan, NPCA, 202-454-3311
Tony Jewett, Northern Rockies Region, NPCA,406-431-8408


Statement by Thomas C. Kiernan, NPCA president, about the Yellowstone Winter Use Plan

- "The administration's plan to continue snowmobile use in Yellowstone National Park illustrates the influence of industry special interests in exacerbating the grim financial reality of the park. Despite documented annual funding shortfalls of more than $22 million, the administration intends to squeeze the park's budget even tighter to accommodate damaging snowmobile use, while measuring the burden placed on air quality, human health, and park wildlife. Of course, earlier National Park Service studies already have concluded the administration's plan is harmful to the park.

"The funding shortfall leaves park visitors, staff, and wildlife without needed protection and care. In fact, the Park Service acknowledged recently that visitors suffer the most from the park's funding shortfalls. In September, for instance, the park will not offer any interpretive programs--meaning 16,000 to 17,000 visitors each day will be denied the opportunity to go on ranger-led walks or participate in other public education programs at the world's first national park.

"Although insufficient funding means visitors will go without programs and services, the administration will divert additional funds to hire more law enforcement rangers to deal with speeding, illegal off-road travel, and other misbehavior by snowmobile users that has increased dramatically over the past three winters.

"The administration's Yellowstone plan ignores the critical needs of the park and forces an already overworked and understaffed Park Service to take on additional needless responsibilities at the expense of our national heritage and the experiences of millions of visitors."

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