Winter Use

As snowplows clear away the accumulation of one of Yellowstone National Park’s snowiest winters in memory, park staff and the National Park Service (NPS) are already looking ahead to the next winter season, when a new plan for winter use in the park will be adopted.

This spring, the park and the NPS have released a draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) that examines and analyzes seven prospective ways to manage America’s first national park in its most unique and challenging season of the year. This DEIS is the latest milestone in a two-year project to prepare a new long-term plan to manage winter activities for both the enjoyment of park visitors and protection of Yellowstone’s natural resources. The park now needs your involvement and comments at this critical stage of the new plan’s development.

Of the seven proposed alternatives, the park and the NPS prefer one that would continue to allow the use of over-snow vehicles (OSVs for short) to bring visitors into the park to enjoy Old Faithful and other popular destinations. This preferred plan’s key difference is that it would institute more variable and flexible scheduling of that use so that park visitors can experience Yellowstone’s unique character and special winter atmosphere in more varied ways.

We want to hear your voice before we go forward to make final a plan for the park’s future winter management. This special park planning page and the additional links it contains, are a fresh effort to help you join in this important work. They contain a history of winter use, instructions for how to participate, and an array of background documents, reports and studies that have helped guide and inform Yellowstone winter use planning.