Over the past 15 years, much uncertainty regarding snowmobile and snowcoaches access has existed as Yellowstone completed a number of Environmental Impact Statements. October 23, 2013 the Federal Register published the Final Rule which provides for snowmobile and snowcoach access over the next ten years. The public will now be able to plan with certainty their vacations well in advance their winter vacations, knowing Yellowstone will be open. .
Exciting times are ahead. The winter vehicles that will be used in the future must meet the new NPS standards using the Best Available Technology (BAT) or Enhanced Best Available Technology (EBAT). These oversnow vehicles will be less intrusive on the environment and will also provide greater visitor comfort and safety.
For example, See Yellowstone Tours Inc. helped design and has contracted with SnoBear USA to build a new snowcoach from the ground up to be environmentally friendly and more economical while providing greater guest comfort. We unveiled this new concept snowcoach, named the “Yellowstone Grizz”, Dec. 15, 2014 exclusively for use in Yellowstone. The Yellowstone Grizz pictured here, has the allure of a unique over snow vehicle that “begs” to be ridden through the beauties of Yellowstone in the winter.
Some exciting news this year is that Three Bear Rentals, LLC. in conjunction with See Yellowstone Tours and other affiliated entities has purchased Yellowstone Alpen Guides. Yellowstone Alpen Guides has operated eight of an original snowcoach design by Bombardier. Two of these historical snowcoaches were the first to travel, under a special permit, to Old Faithful in the winter. These retrofitted snowcoaches have all been certified by the park as EBAT. The new combined entity will be known as See Yellowstone Alpen Guides and operates 14 snowcoaches that maintain the allure of winter transportation in Yellowstone.
Three Bear Rentals LLC also operates rental snowmobiles that are BAT certified and are approved for operating in or out of the Park.
Whether by snowmobile or snowcoach, you may plan on your Yellowstone vacation with certainty. With the new park rules now solidly in place, 10 year contracts have been issued to some of the operators who will be able to provide oversnow winter transportation through the year 2024 and possibly beyond.