INTERNATIONAL FALLS (AP) -- Snowmobiles will again be allowed on 11 bays in Voyageurs National Park, now that a study has found no link between human use and wolf activity in those areas.
Park Superintendent Barbara West said 4,667 acres of lake surface previously closed to the public since 1992 will reopen this winter.
The affected bays are on Rainy, Kabetogama, Namakan and Sand Point lakes. They constitute a relatively small portion of the park: 11 of 105 bays and 5.5 percent of the 80,000 acres of the park that are open to snowmobiling.
Snowmobilers had argued that those areas are the most scenic and desirable places to ride in the park along the Minnesota-Ontario border.
In justifying the ban, park officials had contended that human activity in the affected bays interfered with the ability of wolves to pursue prey and to reproduce successfully.
The Minnesota United Snowmobilers Association sued the Interior Department and other agencies in 1994, arguing that biological data didn't support the ban. A federal appeals court later ruled that the park had the authority to close those portions of the park to protect the gray wolf population.
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