Wildland Development Concepts Wildland Development









The Effects of Development on Recreation in Yellowstone


Since Yellowstone’s establishment in 1872, there has been public debate on the purpose and value of national parks. Today, national parks are valued for both recreation and aesthetic purposes. For Yellowstone and its gateway communities, development around the park in recent years has refueled serious debate on the use and impacts this new generation of homeowners and recreation seekers has on the park and its wildlife. Over the years visitor counts have grown in conjunction with the increase in second home and subdivided property in the gateway communities around the park. In 1950, 1,109,926 visitors entered the park, today, as of 1999, 4, 123, 664 total visitors entered the park. In less than five years an estimated increase of over a million new visitors entered the park. With this increase in growth, new issues are arising on how to mitigate increased recreation with wildlife and other management concerns within the park.

Current Issues- http://www.yellowstone-park.net/ or http://www.yellowstonepark.com/

Issues in Winter Recreation Use Planning

Winter recreation in Yellowstone first became popular after World War II. Until then sub-zero temperatures and inadequate equipment for the conditions kept visitors away. Since then winter use has climbed with as many as 143,000 winter visitors in 1993-94 (Yochim 1999). Although many cold-weather activities are available, snowmobile use has emerged as the most popular use of the park during the winter months. Because Yellowstone admits more snowmobiles than any other national park in the country, the economic benefit to gateway communities for promoting this sport is substantial. Now that the tourist industry can profit during the winter months, more businesses are building up and attracting more permanent residents. Serious debates on the impacts of snowmobile use have prompted a proposed ban in Yellowstone. The threat of economic loss and recreational opportunity has prompted the International Snowmobile Manufacturer’s Association to file a lawsuit against the park in Dec. 2000. Currently no ban has been incorporated into Yellowstone’s Winter Use Plan, however the issue is still being hotly contested. If a ban succeeds it is possible winter usage of the park will decrease and possibly decrease the development of stores and other businesses accommodating the snowmobiling industry.

Current Issues in Winter Use - http://www.snowmobile.org/Congressupdates.html



Issues in Summer Recreation Use Planning

Popular summer activities such as hiking, have also drawn increasingly large groups of people to Yellowstone. With development around the park, heated debates on the damage to its aesthetic value have risen as well. Clear cuts, housing tracts and construction along the borders of the park are becoming increasingly common. With visitor numbers in the millions per summer, plans to reduce traffic and impacts on wildlife have been proposed. Demand has grown for further accommodations within the park, as in both seasons reservations for in-park lodging can fill up as far a year in advance. Due to the limited lodging within the park, developers have profited from increasing the availability of hotels and other lodging facilities in gateway communities for visitors. As these lodgings also begin to fill far in advance of many vacations by visitors the push to build more and turn a profit continues. 

Current Issues in Aesthetics Concerns- http://www.forwolves.org/ralph/yellcountry.htm