BILLINGS, Montana (AP) - Yellowstone National Park will let in 720 snowmobiles a day - the same as the past three winters - while officials try to form a long-term access plan amid challenges from recreational users and conservationists.
Park spokesman Al Nash said administrators decided to revert to the old temporary plan so they could dive immediately into developing a long-term solution.
The decision marked the latest turn in a decades-long struggle between snowmobile advocates, who want more recreational access, and conservation groups that say too many of the machines degrade the park's natural beauty.
This year in particular has been wrought with inconsistent legal rulings.
In September, U.S. District Judge Andrew Sullivan in Washington, D.C. voiced concern that an earlier park proposal to allow 540 machines daily would cause air pollution and disturb wildlife. He threw out that plan and told the park service to come up with a new one.
In response, park administrators said Nov. 3 that they planned to allow 318 snowmobiles daily while they worked on a long-term plan.