Does Snowmobiling Tame the Wilds of Yellowstone?


Many people in the Cody community do not know about the once in a lifetime opportunity offered in our backyard.


Transportation during the summer season at Yellowstone National Park attracts millions of cultures every year, but the experience of traveling through the white-washed park has been a controversial topic since the beginning of it’s approval.


Should this experience continue or is it causing more harm than intended?


While the clock struck midnight on Jan. 1, 2019, my sisters and I were jumping on the beds at the Old Faithful Hotel in the park. But this was not my first time celebrating the new year in the unexpected, popular tourist destination. As this was my second trip, but my first as a driver, my thoughts on this adventure left me feeling conflicted.


In the early 2000´s, the use of snowmobiles was banned, but overturned a couple years later. The controversy over these machines was due to the fact they were too loud which resulted in the disturbance of the animal inhabitants of Yellowstone. The pollution of the vehicles was also a concern. While pollution is still a concern affecting global warming, it still raises an issue to the contamination of fresh spring water. Newer models with less emissions, have allowed the reintroduction of snowmobiles to the park.


Was this decision in favor of the wildlife or the community surrounding the national landscape?


Personally, I feel this leisurely snowmobiling travel isn’t acceptable. Not only did my family have to invade the space of the local bison, the dangers of creating an avalanche through Sylvan Pass, were a concern to the drivers.


I was one of these terrified drivers along with my parents. Having no previous experience in driving this kind of motorized vehicle, I was going into this blindly, but then it got me thinking. How many other people don’t feel comfortable operating a snowmobile in a National Park?

Although tour guides are offered to lead you through the park, you cannot predict the critters you will stumble upon.

”Between 1989 and 1995, an average of 117 wild animals were killed annually in vehicle collisions in Yellowstone National Park,” the official National Park website reads. Their website also states, “Many studies have looked at how wintertime stress affects animal health and survival, but measuring the added stress of vehicle proximity and noise emissions is problematic.”

Will this solution ever be solved, or is this winter wonderland joy ride staying in the hands of the greedy?

”Even if advancing technology dramatically reduces or eliminates the noise and pollution snowmobiles generate, they’ll still be an inappropriate mode of transport in Yellowstone National Park. They’ll degrade the sense of place Yellowstone has come to represent over time. Snowmobiles in winter, like automobiles in summer, are antithetical to the purposes for which Yellowstone National Park was created,” the website dedicated to Yellowstone states.

We need to remember that this is a park, not a zoo.