A judge has effectively lifted the snowmobile ban in Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks. Originally instituted during the Clinton administration, the judge turned back the previous "rushed through" decisions, which included the limited use of larger snowcoaches to allow people to see the park in a more controlled fashion. Notice that the judge included this flimsy bit of rationale:
"Nowhere was there a study of the small windows of snowcoaches usually fogged by passengers' exhalation, the cramped, uncomfortable seating and the slowness of the coaches, all of which are to the detriment of park visitors' enjoyment of the trip," Brimmer wrote.
This line of reasoning leads to the most convenient approach: visitors should ideally be enclosed in transparent tanning booths and lowered down to Old Faithful via personal helicopters.
And implied in this ruling, of course, is the dismissive attitude toward those who would venture out in an even more "unenjoyable" way, namely through the use of snowshoes and skis. Anybody that has been out X-C skiing in remote areas for any length of time has experienced the most unpleasant of all sensations -- smelling the oil-laden fumes of an oncoming 2-stroke snowmobile in the distance, before you hear it. Hard to believe this can occur, considering how loud snowmobiles can get, but like the vomiting before the diarrhea in the case of contracting food poisoning, the fumes and noise will predominate as long as the beasts are free to roam out there. (As an aside, olfactory memories have an uncanny persistence; I can vividly recall the sharp crispness of cold fresh air colliding with petroleum byproducts. And memories are exactly the reason for anyone to venture to remote regions in the first place!)
I have been getting newsletters from the Snowlands Network for several years now. Marcus Libkind does yeoman's work in making self-propelled winter outdoor enthusiasts aware of the political machinations, way ahead of the curve.
In the context of Peak Oil considerations, snowmobiles have amazingly bad mileage: 20 MPG