Voters reject West Yellowstone snowmobile curfew.

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Voters reject West Yellowstone snowmobile curfew.

WEST YELLOWSTONE, Mont. (AP) - A proposal to ban overnight use of snowmobiles has failed by just six votes in one of the gateways to Yellowstone National Park. The measure failed 149-143, election officials said.

The curfew would have prohibited use of snowmobiles between 11:15 p.m. and 5:45 a.m.

Supporters said they were fed up with snowmobile noise late at night. Opponents said the curfew would send the wrong message to snowmobilers, important contributors to the West Yellowstone economy.

The apparent defeat at the polls was "unfortunate, because it's just going to be that much longer until West Yellowstone can be a place for everyone in the winter," said Gibson Bailey, who supported the curfew.

The vote comes in the midst of the heated debate over banning snowmobiles in the national park beginning in the winter of 2003-2004.

"It will take longer for a little diversity here," Bailey said. Snowmobiling "can't coexist with other entities."

Activities such as cross-country skiing deserve some consideration, Bailey said.

Curfew opponent Jack Clarkson said he expected a close outcome at the polls.

If supporters of the overnight restriction on snowmobiles want to revive their effort, "more power to them," Clarkson said. "By the time they get around to it, we'll have cleaner, quieter machines."
 

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