Dec 17, 2013 The Associated Press

Court to hear wolf delisting

CHEYENNE --A federal judge in Washington, D.C., is set to hear arguments from environmental groups challenging the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's recent move to end federal protections for wolves in Wyoming.

Judge Amy Berman Jackson set a hearing for Tuesday on a complaint by a coalition of environmental groups. They claim the federal government's recent transfer of wolf management authority to the state of Wyoming violates the Endangered Species Act.

Attorneys for the environmental group Earthjustice are scheduled to present oral arguments Tuesday.

The Wyoming Game and Fish Department took over wolf management in September 2012 and has allowed hunters to kill scores of wolves. State officials say they're committed to maintaining the required minimum wolf population.

National parks open for winter

JACKSON --Both of western Wyoming's national parks are open for the winter season, which means the start of cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and skate skiing, among other outdoor activities.

Except for the Cody entrance, all of Yellowstone's gates opened to snowmobiling Sunday, though snow conditions are best near the South Gate on up to Old Faithful. The visitor center, grill and gift shop at the iconic geyser opened Sunday, but the cabins, lodge and dining room are set to open Wednesday.

At Grand Teton National Park, conditions for over-snow winter sports are somewhat less optimal.

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