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Yellowstone Victory (Well, It\'s A Beginning!)

It's going to be an uphill battle all the way I'm sure, but we are making progress. See below.

Matt
Doo owner
Manta owner
--------------------------------------------------------
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Ed Klim, President ISMA
517/339-7788

National Park Service to Reopen Yellowstone
Snowmobiling Planning Process; Enthusiasts Claim Victory

HASLETT, Michigan (June 29, 2001) - Under a settlement agreement
finalized by the snowmobile community, the state of Wyoming, and the U.S.
Department of the Interior, the National Park Service will reopen its
decision-making process regarding the use of snowmobiles in Yellowstone and
surrounding Parks.
Snowmobile manufacturers and enthusiasts, and the State of Wyoming, all
who sued the Park Service over the Clinton Administration edict to ban
snowmobiles in the Parks, consider the settlement a victory. Under the
settlement, the Park Service commits to reexamine its closure in light of
new, environmentally friendly snowmobile technology and other information
provided by the public.
Snowmobile industry experts say factoring the heralded four-stroke
snowmobile engine into the new decision-making will significantly improve
the noise and emissions data cited in the previous Environmental Impact
Statement prepared in 2000. The snowmobile industry expects that the
supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) will counter "inaccuracies
and misinformation used to smear snowmobiles in the original statement,"
according to Ed Klim, president of the International Snowmobile
Manufacturers Association.

Agreement Calls for Unbiased Study

"We've been saying all along that the truth would prevail and that's
what has happened," said Klim. "We expect to prove that the studies
on which the Clinton Administration based its ban were flawed and highly
prejudiced. What's more, in the previous decision-making process, the public
was prevented from participating as fully as the law allows. The agreement helps
ensure that that won't happen this time around."
Klim said he expects that the new supplemental EIS would utilize correct
testing procedures and its findings will incorporate accurate data provided
by the Environmental Protection Agency and others.
According to the settlement agreement, the supplemental EIS calls for
the NPS to reconsider all alternatives, to completely review all relevant data,
including current engine testing data from snowmobile manufacturers, and to
work closely with cooperating State and local governments.

Study, Rulemaking Must Conform to Schedule

As scheduled in the agreement, the NPS is required to publish the
supplemental EIS on its web site on January 21, 2002, and in printed form by
March 15, 2002. By March 15, 2002, the Park Service must also issue a
proposed new rule, incorporating all content from the supplemental EIS and
the preferred NPS alternative for snowmobile usage in Yellowstone. A 60-day
comment period on the draft rule will extend through May 15, 2002. On
October 15, 2002, the NPS is required to issue the final supplemental EIS,
including all documentation supporting rulemaking. The final decision and
new rule is to be published by November 15, 2002.
"The new process will not be driven by politics, nor will it be based on
junk science promoted by certain environmental groups, whose real goal seems
to be the elimination of all forms of motorized and many forms of
non-motorized recreation," said Klim.
The decision to phase-out snowmobiles still stands at present. It calls
for the reduction of snowmobiling in Yellowstone and Grand Teton beginning
in the winter of 2002-03, and a complete ban in 2003-04. However, if the
snowmobiling community, the public, and State and local governments can show
through the new process that reasonable and regulated snowmobiling can and
should continue on the park's paved, snow-covered roads, then the snowmobile
ban will fall, predicts Klim. The settlement agreement calls for a decision
before the winter of 2002-03.

Groundswell of Popular Support

Over the past year, millions of snowmobilers across the country
mobilized to send a clear message to Congress to prevent the proposed
Park Service ban in Yellowstone and other Parks. They joined efforts with
communities surrounding the parks that would be crippled if snowmobiling
were banned. Tour operators, motels, restaurants, service stations and rental
and repair shops were among the businesses that would have been devastated
by the ban, costing millions of dollars and thousands of jobs.
Support for snowmobiling was not limited to enthusiasts, noted Klim.
"Many non-snowmobilers contacted lawmakers and said that if the snowmobilers
were shut out it could be just the beginning of a slippery slope that would
prohibit park access by car and infringe on everything from camping to
kayaking," said Klim. "And they had a good reason to feel that way."
Snowmobilers also took heart in the findings of recent polls. A poll by
Southwest Research showed that nearly 80 percent of the Americans supported
the use of snowmobiles in national parks while only 11 percent said they
supported the decision prohibiting snowmobile access. A USA Today poll of
76,971 readers showed that 78 percent believe vehicles such as snowmobiles
should not be banned from national parks.
Klim said that an air quality report released by the Park Service itself
offered reasonable management alternatives, such as staggering the entrance
of recreational snowmobiles into parks to prevent overcrowding, eliminating
night riding, and increasing enforcement of applicable laws. The Park
Service can consider these issues in the new process. "We are confident
that we'll wind up with an alternative that respects the interests of the parks
and the right of people to enjoy them," Klim said.
 
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