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Yellowstone Snowmobile Education Certificate is a Course

Yellowstone Snowmobile Education Certificate


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Full course description

Course Introduction

In order to operate a snowmobile in Yellowstone National Park on a non-commercial trip, you must obtain a permit through the lottery, complete this course, and be operating a Best Available Technology snowmobile. You must take and pass a brief assessment in order to complete this course. Completion certificates expire two years after they are issued.

The purpose of this course is to educate visitors who intend to visit and snowmobile in Yellowstone about the rules and regulations governing winter use in the park, as well as to prepare them for the park’s unique environment.

This course is part of a non-commercially guided snowmobile access program, which allows members of the public to enter Yellowstone without being accompanied by a commercial guide. This does not mean unguided access: if you follow the guidance in this course, you will have the knowledge you need to act as a guide for your party. The primary goals of the park are to protect Yellowstone's resources and make possible a high quality visitor experience. Whether you are a novice or an experienced snowmobiler, there are several important things you will need to know about snowmobiling in Yellowstone.

The National Park Service is pleased to provide this education course and the Non-commercially Guided Snowmobile Education Program. Both were developed with input from a working group that includes members of the snowmobiling community, environmental organizations, local businesses, and local government. In particular, the National Park Service would like to thank Governor Matt Mead of Wyoming and the State of Wyoming Department of State Parks and Cultural Resources Recreational Trails Program for providing funding.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of the course, learners will be able to:
  • Identify the tools, safety and emergency equipment, apparel, and personal items to bring to Yellowstone.
  • List sources of local weather forecasts
  • Select Best Available Technology (BAT) snowmobiles and rental locations as necessary
  • List entry and certification documents required for park entry.
  • Explain the check-in process.
  • Determine the correct snowmobile speed limits for roads within developed and undeveloped park areas.
  • Determine how to drive in adverse conditions, such as inclement weather or poor road conditions.
  • Recognize hand signals.
  • Identify appropriate group riding order, appropriate following distances, safe speeds, procedures for transporting passengers, and stopping times.
  • Describe when and why different riding positions should be used.
  • Use Yellowstone's roadside markers to safely navigate terrain.
  • Recall the legal Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) in Yellowstone.
  • Explain why staying on the roads is required and how this procedure reduces the risk of getting stuck and preserves resources.
  • Explain the importance of interacting with wildlife safely and minimally.
  • Identify and contact Emergency Services available in the park.
  • Identify the steps to take to get help and keep riders in your group safe when presented with emergency scenarios.

Module Topics Include

  • Plan Ahead and Prepare
  • Riding a Snowmobile in Yellowstone
  • Wildlife and Other Park Resources
  • Changing Times
  • Hazard Awareness
  • Conclusion

This course is self-paced, allowing learners the flexibility to complete the course as quickly or slowly as they need. While exploring course content, learners can investigate topics in greater detail through enrichment activities that link to real-world examples, original source materials, and policy documents. Learners can easily move from section to section as they navigate through the course, revisiting concepts as needed.

Elements of the course

  • Informational text
  • Informational video
  • Interactive practice activities
  • Supplemental reference materials
  • Final assessment

Course Schedule

  • Plan Ahead and Prepare
  • Riding a Snowmobile in Yellowstone
  • Wildlife and Other Park Resources
  • Changing Times
  • Hazard Awareness
  • Conclusion

After completing all course activities, you will complete a brief assessment to demonstrate your understanding of key course concepts. Upon successful completion of the assessment, you will be awarded a certificate of completion.

Recommended Background

Each snowmobile operator, including the trip leader, must successfully complete this course prior to your snowmobiling event. The non-commercial guide (the trip leader) must be at least 18 years of age and possess a valid driver’s license by the first day of the trip. The trip leader requirements need not be met prior to completing this course.

How to Access

Upon enrolling, you will receive instructions and the link to Canvas. Note: When you register, you'll receive an email invitation. Be sure to accept that invitation, or Canvas will not allow you to open the course modules.

Trainees can move through content modules at their own pace within the course timeframe. Trainees are allowed to finish the course prior to its conclusion date.

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Eppley Institute for Parks and Public Lands

Credit: Certificate of Completion


Audience: People interested in operating a snowmobile in Yellowstone National Park.