yellowstone snowmobiles outside winter
It's been over a decade since Yellowstone allowed snowmobilers to take on the park themselves, so permits should be in high demand. (Photo: Medioimages/Photodisc/Thinkstock)

Lottery Open for Yellowstone Snowmobile Passes

Self-guided winter tours allowed for first time in a decade

yellowstone snowmobiles outside winter
Chris Cohen

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For the first time since 2003, the National Park Service is granting permits for self-guided snowmobile trips in Yellowstone National Park. The permits—to be distributed through a lottery system—will allow one group of up to five snowmobiles per day to enter through each of the park’s winter entrances, the agency announced.

Previously, the only way to snowmobile in Yellowstone was with a professionally guided tour. In 2013, only 300 snowmobilers entered the park daily, down from 2,000 a decade ago, according to Montana Public Radio. This winter, more than 500 snowmobiles will be allowed in the park each day. Groups will be expected to obey the park’s 35 mph speed limit and strict regulations limiting snowmobile emissions and noise.

The change, part of the park’s latest winter-use management plan, could be seen as part of a larger trend of expanding recreation opportunities in national parks.

Interested? Apply here before October 3. The lottery costs $6 to enter; winning groups will pay $40 for the permit in addition to Yellowstone’s standard gate fee.

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Lead Photo: Medioimages/Photodisc/Thinkstock