Take Back the Park


We support a proposal by the Obama administration to cut by more than half the number of machines allowed each day this winter. There is no doubt that 318 — the proposed daily limit — is much better than 720 per day, the number allowed last winter under a Bush administration rule. But we prefer an even smaller number: zero.

Snow coaches have grown in popularity because more people — including children, the elderly and disabled — prefer them. Many tourist guides who once used a fleet of noisy snowmobiles have adopted the coaches instead. They are more comfortable and much quieter, so passengers get a chance to see bison, elk, moose and coyotes without causing the animals distress at a time of year when they are most vulnerable and most need quiet and solitude.

… We're encouraged that national park officials under President Obama will be able to consider their agency's own scientific reports as they work toward a more reasonable rule. It's a refreshing contrast to President George W. Bush's bullish determination to ignore science if it contradicted his philosophy of overusing and exploiting public lands, the consequences be damned.