Yellowstone National Park Superintendent Bob Barbee has halted the issuance of any new commercial-use licenses in the park.

Park spokeswoman Marsha Karle said officials decided to impose the moratorium because the number of such licenses awarded by the park has risen by 147 percent since 1989.The moratorium on new licenses, which allow activities like guided tours and fishing trips, will last until park staff can review all existing licenses to determine whether they are necessary and appropriate.

Officials are concerned that the rising number of licenses for commercial activities could create conflicts with other park uses and visitor safety.

Commercial-use licenses apply only to commercial activities in which all financial transactions take place outside the park. They generally are awarded to outfitters, snowmobile tour operators and other businesses not based in the park.

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There is no limit on the number of operators who can receive a license for the same type of activity, but Karle said officials are concerned too many licenses already may exist for certain activities.

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