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FYI
Snowmobile Exhaust Harms Workers
Fri Feb 15, 3:10 PM ET
By CHRISTOPHER THORNE, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON - At the western gate into Yellowstone National Park, snowmobiles back up by the dozens — sometimes hundreds — to zoom around the park.

 
The gasoline-fired engines belch so much exhaust into the mountain air that on still, windless days a blue haze settles over the gate.

For years, park workers have complained of sore throats, runny noses and burning eyes. To help, fresh air is pumped into their enclosed kiosks.

Now the National Park Service is providing respirators for workers. The first six sets arrived Thursday.

Jon Catton, a spokesman for the Greater Yellowstone Coalition, a nonprofit group that favors restricting snowmobile access, said he is horrified by the image of park workers wearing respirators.

"It's sad. Rangers forced to stay indoors, behind glass? Or to wear respirators, because the air in our first national park is not healthy to breathe? That's just profoundly sad," Catton said.

Yellowstone is one of the nation's signature parks, featuring abundant wildlife, geysers, lakes and streams. Its 2.2 million acres stretch from the rocky northwest corner of Wyoming into southern Montana and eastern Idaho.

Concerns about pollution prompted the National Park Service to issue a rule in 2000 banning snowmobiles from the park, phasing them out over several years. The ban included snowmobiles in Grand Teton National Park, south of Yellowstone, and the John D. Rockefeller Jr. Memorial Highway, an 82-mile road linking the parks.

But last year, the Bush administration put a hold on the ban to settle a lawsuit brought by snowmobile manufacturers and the state of Wyoming, which wants to protect tourism dollars.

The Bush administration agreed to conduct a second environmental study of the impact snowmobiles have on wildlife, air quality and noise.

Options in a draft proposal range from banning snowmobiles altogether to capping the number that could enter the park each day, instituting tighter emission controls for them. The final version of the plan is expected next week.

The Yellowstone snowmobile season runs from December to mid-March. Presidents Day weekend is one of the busiest of the season, drawing 900 to 1,200 snowmobilers a day to the western gate, one of three gates through which snowmobilers may ride.

If the wind is up, the exhaust won't be a problem this weekend, ranger Robert Seibert said. But if the air is cold and still, gate workers will don the respirators, he said.

"This is just not a reasonable set of working conditions that our employees should be facing without some protection," Seibert said. "I don't think anybody's looking forward to this."

The Park Service has tried to reduce air pollution at the western gate this season by selling snowmobile passes in West Yellowstone, Mont., the closest town to a park entrance. The idea is that if riders already have passes they won't have to line up at the gate, idling their engines.

It has helped — a little.

"Machines are moving through the gates more smoothly than in the past, but even with that employees are experiencing these symptoms," said Marsha Karle, a National Park Service spokeswoman in Yellowstone.
 

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Its seems they always fail to mention all the R.V's, motorhomes and vehicles that enter the parks in the summertime. They by far out number the number of snowmobilers that use the park in the winter. Ridiculous and getting sickining already  
 

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This has got to stop!  I agree with fastcat02 100%  They never mention all the other motorized vehicles.  That's wrong!  Segregation!
Stand up against these jerks.
 

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Up here in the North, From Idaho to the great lakes, if you were to put EVERY gasoline and diesel powered item in the exact center in a big pile, when you get out into space far enough to take a picture of the whole area, you would only see a little black dot the size of a penny in the middle of a vast wilderness.  

I know, I live there.

There is ABSOLUTLY NO WAY that recreational vehicle use can be of affect like this reporter claims, or ANY of the reports of pollution.

Furthermore, the government of the USA amd the EPA did studies on snowmobile emissions in which they determined that there is no negative effects from snowmobiles on the environment ANYWHERE.

If every internal combustion engine item on the planet were a snowmobile, then snowmobiles would be a problem but they are not.

In a small city size of 100,000 people there are probably over 300,000 hours of Internal Combustion Engine usage PER DAY (and these are mostly 3000cc and larger). Not snowmobiles either. We do not see them trying to out law that.

That does not compare to a TOTAL of 250,000 (small 700cc on the avg.) machines Nation Wide, which only get used on the average of 1,000 miles and 40 days a year! (if we are lucky)

Remember the CFC scam the Gov't. played on us?

ONE volcano produces more polutants, CFC, CO, HC, etc. than all of mankind could produce in 20 years.

JUST THE FACTS GET OFF OUR BACKS.

It is ALL about money.
 

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I just got back from there.  My observations are as follows:

The pollution claims of blue haze in the park - BS

The claims that these machines scare the animals - BS

The claims that these machines are so loud that you cannot hear the thermal features - BS

The gate workers "might" have some cause of concern.  Walking in the parking lot at the Old Faithful area was a rather foul smelling event. Even this was limited ONLY to the parking area, and quickly dissipated as I walked towards the Geyser complex. Every machine entering the park in the past would have had to stop and idle while the entrant paid their fees.  This, however, has been solved.  West Yellowstone entry is pre paid in town - no more stopping at the gate.  Just show your pass as you slowly pass the gate.  4 stroke machines will make further improvements.

As for noise, I found the ambient noise to be no worse than during my summer visits, only the tone is different - no louder.  My video camera shots have only one brief area in the Lower basin that you can hear snowmobiles passing on the roadway that is less than 30 yards from the Fountain Paint Pots.  Beyond this, I could either barely hear them, and there is no engine sound on my video.  They never drowned out the sounds made by the Geysers, hot springs, and fumaroles, not even the boiling sound in the Paint Pots.

I lost track of how many times I had to ease by Bison partially blocking the trail, and even got surrounded by an entire herd on the first day.  Even a skittish Coyote stopped and watched me watch him as I passed by slowly - no bolting off into the sunset.

If it wasn't for my snowmobile, I wouldn't have been able to see anywhere near the area that I was fortunate enough to visit.  I'm going back next winter.  The envirowhackos need to take prozack weekly on a daily basis.  These machines are NECESSARY to visit the park in winter.
 

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fastcat02 is right.  They never complain about all of the tour busses and motorhomes that pack the park all summer long!
 
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