Snowmobiles passing bison on the road in Yellowstone in January 2017. Photo: Jacob W. Frank // NPS

YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK, Wyo. — Beginning this winter, Yellowstone National Park (YNP) will suspend a wildlife monitoring effort due to evaluations over the last 10 years that have shown no substantial change.

The monitoring effort was set to find out if snowmobiles and larger, multi-passenger snow coaches were having effects on wildlife in the park.

“The restrictions followed years of legal disputes fueled by concerns that too many snowmobiles were harming air quality and disrupting the park’s bison and other wildlife,” reported The Associated Press.

In 2012, the park adopted a plan that limited the number of winter vehicles allowed in the park.

“Observations by wildlife workers of more than 1,100 groups of animals over seven years with the restrictions in place found that 95 % of bison and 80 % of trumpeter swans had either no response to over-snow vehicles or a ‘look and resume’ response, meaning the animals would look up and then resume what they had been doing.”

With these findings, the National Park Service stated that it would continually re-examine and adjust winter use monitoring strategies and management actions as new information becomes available.

“Future winter wildlife monitoring will be informed by science and may be different than the recent monitoring methodologies,” said YNP in a statement yesterday.

Caroline Chapman is a Community News Reporter. She's a lover of alliteration, easy-to-follow recipes and board games when everyone knows the rules. Her favorite aspect about living in the Tetons is the collective admiration that Wyomingites share for the land and the life that it sustains.