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Yellowstone Opens for Winter Season As Judges Duel for Jurisdiction

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The Bush administration’s 8-years of Yellowstone winter use meddling continues to the bitter end: after immediately overturning the Clinton-era phase-out of snowmobiles in the Park during the winter of 2001, it has, in its final month in office, issued a rule to maintain a 720 snowmobiles/day limit, after a year in which the Park Service proposed a long-term cap of 540, then lowered its proposal to 318 when a DC Federal Court tossed its plan as not protective enough.  I took my eye off this ball for a couple months, and it ricocheted around the country, through two Federal District Courts (just as the initial Bush rule did in the middle of this eight years of chaos) and through the businesses and bar-rooms of West Yellowstone, WY, continuing to boggle the journalistic mind to cull the madness into a readable narrative.  The bottom line for this winter appears to be a “limit” of 720 machines, which, if the past few years are any indication, is more than will want to enter the Park (thanks to rules that require all snowmobiles to be part of guided tours).  Read our best attempt at a summary below the fold, or see AEI’s Special Report: Yellowstone Winter Use for ten years of gorey details. Read the rest of this entry »