Gov. Cecil Andrus has joined Govs. Stan Stephens of Montana and Mike Sullivan of Wyoming in calling for federal officials to redraft their "Vision for the Future" plan for the Yellowstone ecosystem.
The governors asked Wednesday for revisions of the draft plan to clarify how a coordinated management system for the Yellowstone area would take into account the states' management responsibilities in and around Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks.The Vision report was prepared by the U.S. Forest Service and National Park Service through the interagency Greater Yellowstone Coordinating Committee. It is a vague framework for managing 11.7 million acres of federal land in the Yellowstone area.
The agencies contend the report tries to balance environmental protection against economic development, but critics say it would lock up millions of acres to multiple use and development.
The governors said the language in the Vision document also could be interpreted as calling for expansion of Yellowstone National Park boundaries and a restriction of traditional uses of adjacent, mostly state-owned lands.
Idaho, Montana and Wyoming have more than 685,000 acres of state lands in the greater Yellowstone area.
"As a general matter, therefore, we suggest that you redraft the document so that you `say what you mean and mean what you say,' " the governors said in a three-page letter to the Greater Yellowstone Coordinating Committee.