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Snowmobile Lobbies vs GPS/Geocaching Lobbies
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Pear Head
Past MnGCA President

Joined: 04 Apr 2004

Posts: 5833

PostPosted: Wed May 18, 2005 4:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow. I take a small fishing trip for a couple of days and it seems like the whole world starts to fall apart... Smile

For starters, I am a VERY avid snowmobiler. I log 2000+ miles yearly, with almost all of it starting within 50 miles or so of home (in the 2003-2004 winter I put my sled on a trailer twice - all other riding was done from home).

I've been to Yellowstone in the winter (I believe it was in Feb 2001). We rented sleds from a rental place there, spent one day in the park and then one day on other area trails outside of the park.

First, I would hate to be the guy or gal collecting money at the park entrance. No one can underestimate the engine fumes that are present there. It's enough to make one sick.

Once you leave the booth however, everyone is spread out a lot more, and you get back to enjoying the fresh air. Sure, snowmobiles pollute the air, but so do cars and trucks. You don't see Yellowstone banning automobiles, do you? There are also Federal regulations in the works to force snowmobile manufacturers to lower emissions. Same deal with automobiles, just different regulations. Snowmobile manufacturers are already working to lower emissions - there are a number of four stroke machines on the market now. Ski-doo has a semi-direct injection engine that is supposed to be lower on emissions.

I'm sure the manufacturers are fighting the new regulations - you don't see Chevrolet or Ford saying "Please force us to have lower emissions," do you? No - auto makers fight the new regs the same way. It affects everyone's bottom line - $$.

To keep this on topic:

ATVs and snowmobiles ARE regulated. Not identical to geocaching, but you can't expect them to be. ATVs are banned in a LOT of areas. MN is more agressive about this than other states like WI, and is starting to ease up some as ATVers are becoming more organized as a group. Snowmobilers are also regulated. In addition to paying a state user fee (currently $15/year, with proposals to raise it), they are not allowed 'anywhere they fit'). Go to your local state park, take a trail map, point to a random trail, and ask the park manager if you can take your ATV or snowmobile down there.

Parks regulate a lot of things, not just geocaching.

A snowcoach is basically an enclosed vehicle with skis and a track. Think of a cross between a van and a snowmobile.
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Joined: 02 Jan 2003

Posts: 182

PostPosted: Wed May 18, 2005 10:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Park studies emissions

The Ambient Air Quality Standard for Yellowstone has NEVER been violated because of snowmobile emissions.

The Montana DEQ study found that the new model snowmobiles tested in 2001 performed significantly better than older model snowmobiles studied in 1997.

A study done by Central Michigan University also found significant snowmobile emission reductions with the use of newer technologies.

Results from the Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) testing of newly available production model 4-stroke and older 2-stroke snowmobiles using both gas and ethanol mixed fuels demonstrated new technology snowmobile, substantially reduced emissions.

Emissions from actual snowcoaches in operation were also tested. The SwRI studied snowcoach emissions of the newest snowcoaches. The study found the snowcoaches produce substantially more emissions than snowmobiles.

Park Compares summer emissions to winter emissions

One additional study looked at air quality and emissions and concluded that in the year 2000: (1) the emissions from snowcoaches and the older technology snowmobiles constitute a small fraction of the year-around mobile emissions in the Parks, (2) the summer Recreational Vehicles (RVs) alone emit more than eight times more Nitrous Oxides (NOx) than the snowcoaches and the older technology snowmobiles combined, and (3) snowcoaches and the older technology snowmobiles accounted for less than 6% of the particulate matter emitted in the Parks from mobiles sources.

Groomed Roads in Park

Roads are groomed in the Parks because grooming is necessary for all motorized access into the Parks. Recreational snowmobiles, Park Service snowmobiles, and snowcoaches cannot travel on ungroomed surfaces. Since snowmobiles are allowed only on the groomed road surface, snowmobilers have access to less than 1% of Yellowstone Park, which is 2.2 million acres - or half the size of the state of Connecticut.

A poll by Southwest Research showed that nearly 80 percent of the Americans supported the use of snowmobiles in national parks while only 11 percent said they supported the decision prohibiting snowmobile access. A USA Today poll of 76,971 readers showed that 78 percent believe vehicles such as snowmobiles should not be banned from national parks.

Arctic Cat Responds to EPA Concerns

Polaris Responds to EPA Concerns

*****Underlining added by me

The following are my comments---

While I am more than willing to agree that in the past (and by past, I mean over 5 years ago) there were numerous problems with snowmobiles in Yellowstone, the snowmobile groups were never allowed to correct anything or even notified that there was a problem before the initial bans were put in place.

Saying that the NPS staff had to wear masks while working at Yellowstone is like saying that the federal government condoned slavery. In both cases it may have been true at one time, but not anymore.

And in actuality, all 4 snowmobile manufacturers took it apon themselves to come up with cleaner burning snowmobiles before any government mandates were put in place. 3 of the companies have very legitamate 4 stroke motors, and another has cleaned up emmisions with a fuel injected 2 stroke to levels nearly of those 4 strokes. And all have surpassed the requirements the government mandated for year 2012.

And if someone could mandate only synthetic oil for the 2 stroke engines, you could cut snowmobile polution by about 70%. I will not use an petroleum based oils for any of my 2 stroke motors.

I am having troubling finding the environmentalist's study that claimed something like each snowmobile put a ton of pollution a year into the air. If you sit down and do the math there is now way that could be possible. The average snowmobile puts on about 1000 miles a year. At approximately 10 - 15 miles per gallon lets go with 100 gallon of gas used. At 6 pounds per gallon, how can you have 2000 pounds of pollution from 600 pounds of gas? I am just attempting to show you that most of these studies didn't do themselves and good by skewing the facts as much as they did.

I like to use a little common sense and a wary eye when reading most news reports and studies. You can make any outcome work to your advantage, you just have to know how to twist the data.

an avid snowmobiler, bicycler, kayaker, geocacher, hiker, camper, driveabigpickuptrucker, ect, ect, ect. Why can't we all just get along???
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