National Park Service planners are considering suggestions about how Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks should be managed in the winter.
Public meetings on the topic were held last week both here and in Bozeman.Many of the 31 people who attended the meeting here urged Yellowstone Superintendent Bob Barbee and park planner Richard Alesch to improve services for snowmobilers and reject any proposal to limit the number of snowmobiles entering Yellowstone, Grand Teton and the John D. Rockefeller Jr. Memorial Parkway.
But a spokeswoman for the Greater Yellowstone Coalition, based in Bozeman, said she is concerned about the impacts of "burgeoning winter use" in the parks.
"We're glad the Park Service is taking efforts to hopefully alleviate the problem," said GYC program assistant Susan Dejmal, one of 55 people who attended the Bozeman meeting.
Dejmal said her organization believes the Park Service should conduct a detailed environmental impact statement and get public comment throughout the country.
"It's a world park, and we would like to see public involvement so everyone can comment," she said. "Hopefully, out of more work comes better decisions, and that's what we're after."
Dejmal said she believes the Park Service needs to protect its resources from too much winter use and also has to protect the "winter experience of Yellowstone."
Rapid growth of winter use in Yellowstone and Grand Teton has prompted the Park Service to prepare a winter use plan. Park planners are still in the initial stages of getting ideas about what issues should be studied.
A summary of the alternatives that could be used to solve winter use problems will be published this fall, and a final plan is expected by the end of 1990.
Dejmal objected to at least part of the proposed Continental Divide Snowmobile Trail in Grand Teton. Part of the proposed route goes through trumpeter swan and bald eagle habitat, and moose and elk winter range, she said.
"There are alternative methods for getting around that area, and we want them to be pursued," she said.
Barbee said it would be very difficult to set limits on the number of people who visit Yellowstone because it would be nearly impossible to measure how resources are affected.
"One person's sacrilege is someone else's dogma," he said.