A Yellowstone National Park official has apologized to three snowmobile industry executives for forwarding a joke by e-mail that suggested a hunting season on snowmobiles in the park.
At least one snowmobile advocate doesn’t think the apology is enough, and has said the Park Service should remove John Sacklin from his current duties.
â€œI would say it’s pretty poor taste to be circulating something like that from a government official,â€ said Kim Raap, former manager of the Wyoming State Trails Program and now a consultant in Sioux Falls, S.D. â€œI believe that John should not be involved in this process, absolutely. This is a misbehavior that taints the process.â€
In a statement issued on Thursday (February 16), Yellowstone Superintendent Suzanne Lewis called Sacklin a â€œdedicated, even-handed public servant,â€ and said the park stands behind him.
Sacklin is Yellowstone’s lead planner on the winter-use environmental study that examines the effects of snowmobiles in the park.
Snowmobile use in Yellowstone, Grand Teton National Park and the parkway connecting them has been a contentious issue for a number of years. The current snowmobile rules, expected to be in place through the winter of 2006-07, allow for up to 720 snowmobiles to enter Yellowstone every day, but most riders must be accompanied by guides and the park requires the use of cleaner, quieter machines.
Earlier this month, Sacklin apparently forwarded an e-mail he had received to Ed Klim, president of the International Snowmobile Manufacturers Association; Chris Wright, an employee of Arctic Cat; and Jim Vizanko, an employee of Yamaha.
The text of the e-mail, titled â€œA Modest Solution,â€ joked about how Montanans â€œfeel the need to shoot Yellowstone’s bison,â€ a reference to the state’s renewed hunt of bison that wander out of Yellowstone.
â€œThis, however, has caused some uneasiness and some people even feel it is damaging Montana’s image. Thus, we need a different outlet and I think I have the solution. Let’s have an annual snowmobile hunt in and around Yellowstone Park!â€
Sacklin forwarded the note, saying: â€œThis came to us a while back, and we hope you find this as entertaining as we did.â€
Al Nash, spokesman for Yellowstone, said Sacklin wrote to the three recipients Thursday (February 16) and apologized for â€œany hard feelings that forwarding that e-mail may have created.â€
(Reprinted from the Bellingham Herald, Bellingham, WA)