Adventure

Yellowstone Avalanche Shelling Criticized

Park spends $325K on avalanche control

The Coalition of National Park Service Retirees and three other conservation groups have appealed to the federal government to close Yellowstone National Park's Sylvan Pass to winter visitors and discontinue an avalanche control policy that costs the park $325,000 each season. In winter, park service employees fire artillery shells from a 105 mm howitzer or hand drop explosives from helicopters in an effort to clear the pass's 20 avalanche runs. But last year only 90 snowmobiles crossed the pass, which is located just inside Yellowstone's east entrance, bringing the bill to $3,600 per vehicle. The groups, which also include the National Parks Conservation Association, the Sierra Club, and the Natural Resources Defense Council, have pointed to the 1994 death of park ranger Bob Mahn, who died during a patrol of the pass. Two NPS environmental impact studies also concluded that even with avalanche control "the risk [of keeping Sylvan Pass open] remains extreme and unavoidable.” At this point, Yellowstone officials have no plans to stop shelling.

Read more at NewWest.com

Our mission to inspire readers to get outside has never been more critical. In recent years, Outside Online has reported on groundbreaking research linking time in nature to improved mental and physical health, and we’ve kept you informed about the unprecedented threats to America’s public lands. Our rigorous coverage helps spark important debates about wellness and travel and adventure, and it provides readers an accessible gateway to new outdoor passions. Time outside is essential—and we can help you make the most of it. Making a financial contribution to Outside Online only takes a few minutes and will ensure we can continue supplying the trailblazing, informative journalism that readers like you depend on. We hope you’ll support us. Thank you.
Contribute to Outside
Filed To: News
More Adventure