Yellowstone asks for public comments on adapting winter operations plans

WYOMING — The National Park Service is encouraging public comment on a proposal to adjust winter operating dates and times in Yellowstone National Park. Comments must be received by Oct. 29. 

Yellowstone is proposing two adaptive management modifications. The first, standardizing opening and closing dates at all entrances to the park. The park is proposing aligning the opening and closing dates for the East Entrance with other park entrances. The east Entrance would open no earlier than Dec. 15 and close no later than March 15. 

The existing seasonal closures of Dec. 15-21 and March 2-15 have been found to no longer be necessary. The NPS now has the operational capacity to safely open the Sylvan Pass on December 15. These dates were implemented due to avalanche safety concerns on Sylvan Pass. 

The second proposal will change the daily opening time for the South Entrance from 7 a.m to 8 a.m. Currently, contract holders and operators leave Jackson, Wyoming before sunrise. Traveling at this time of day can be dangerous and does not allow enough time for road conditions to properly be assessed by NPS staff. 

Both of these proposed changes do not require revisions to the Final Winter Use Rule, adaptive management is allowed under the Winter Use Supplemental Environment Impact Statement and Record of Decision. 

The park will make a decision on this proposal after evaluating public comments and completing compliance requirements for the National Environmental Policy Act, Endangered Species Act, Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act, and other applicable laws and regulations.

Comments must be received by October 29, 2020. Comments may be submitted online or by mail. Mail comments to Compliance Office, Attention: Winter Use Adaptive Management, P.O. Box 168, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming 82190. 

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