Information for the Media
For Immediate Release
BLUE RIBBON COALITION, INC.
1540 N. Arthur * Pocatello, ID 83204
208.233.6570 * FAX 208.233.8906
Snowmobile Ban Unravels - Park Service Retreats As Public Outcry
Bipartisan Congressional Opposition Grows
Pocatello, ID, July 26, 2000 Growing public concern and bipartisan
congressional disapproval over the National Park Services April
announcement banning snowmobiles from most National Parks has forced
the National Park Service to re-think its unpopular decision.
On July 17th, during debate on the Senate floor of the Interior
Appropriations bill that funds the service, Senate Democratic Leader
Tom Daschle (D-SD) and
Sen. Baucus (D-MT) declared their opposition to an outright ban on
snowmobiles, forcing Secretary of the Interior to commit to a full
process before any action is taken.
"By carefully managing the parks, I believe that we can provide this
(to snowmobiles) in a manner that is sensitive to the needs of the
environment and to those who go to public lands in search of solitude
quiet," Daschle said in addressing the issue on the Senate floor. "I
that it is critical for the agency to review a variety of options for
managing snowmobiles and to ensure a full opportunity for public
"I don't think we need an outright ban, " said Sen. Baucus, "I believe
protect the park and its wildlife in other ways."
As the National Parks Service saw support for its unilateral, outright
dematerialize, the agency scrambled to back out of an increasingly
uncomfortable position. Former assistant secretary of Interior for
fish and wildlife and parks Donald Barry announced the ban on April
27th, ignoring the fact that recent scientific studies have proven
that snowmobiles can and have been improved to address noise and
emission concerns. Barry has since announced his intention to leave
Interior to become Executive Director of The Wilderness Society.
Im not going to even speculate on what the ban and Mister Barrys
new job might have in common. Said Viki Eggers, Public Relations
consultant for the BlueRibbon Coalition. Im just going to be
grateful that folks who want to enjoy their National Parks from a
snowmobile will have the opportunity to at least take part in the
In a letter to Senator Daschle, Interior Secretary Bruce Babbit
said, "the National Park Service has not made any final decisions on
what changes to make in the snowmobile use
that is allowed in national parks, and any decisions we make will be
following public comment and compliance with other requirements for
rulemakingUntil a new rulemaking is completed, the existing rule on
snowmobile use in the national parks remains in effect."
We are pleased to see that the Department of the Interior recognizes
that it is not above the law. Said Eggers. The law says that John Q.
Public must have the opportunity to participate in these important
decisions over management of the peoples parks. This blanket ban
nearly circumvented that public process. Were heartened to know that
our agency employees have realized that.
The BlueRibbon Coalition has worked hand in glove with state and
local associations, and user groups across the country as well as the
snowmobile industry to address issues around the use of snowmobiles on
public lands, said Eggers, This is a big win for all of us. This is
a big win for Americans everywhere because the spirit law has been
upheld despite the best efforts of a few enviromaniacs with big bucks
and far too much influence in Washington!
The Blue Ribbon Coalition is a national recreation group that
champions responsible recreation on public lands. It represents over
organizations and businesses with 600,000 members.
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