Yellowstone National Park

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As spring approaches, Yellowstone National Park’s grizzly bear population is starting to wake up. The first grizzly was spotted out of hibernation February 22nd.

Amy Bartlett is a spokeswoman for Yellowstone National Park. She says the bears are coming out of hibernation on schedule, even though it still feels like winter.

National Park Service

Yellowstone biologists are winning the war against invasive Lake Trout, and bringing back native Yellowstone Cutthroat.

Yellowstone Lake is a cold place. If you’re out on the lake even in the middle of the summer, you’ll need a jacket. So, when we went out in a boat with Yellowstone’s leader of the Cutthroat Trout restoration project, it was chilly.

Yellowstone Lake is the largest fresh water lake above 7000 feet in north America. It is also very deep, and cold. That is why non-native Lake Trout have thrived here. They evolved in the Great Lakes. 

Yellowstone’s expert on grizzly bears says it’s time to delist them. Bear Management biologist Kerry Gunther edited the recent Yellowstone Science magazine dedicated to grizzly bear recovery.

“Where are the grizzly bears” is one of the most frequently asked questions at Yellowstone Park Entrances. That question often gets answered now.

Yellowstone Bear Management Specialist Kerry Gunther said in the early eighties it was rare to see any bear in the Park. But things have changed.

nps.gov

An interagency Board of Review released a report of last summer’s fatal grizzly attack in Yellowstone National Park.

Several organizations, including representatives from the national parks, the Wyoming Game and Fish Department, and the U.S.G.S. Interagency Grizzly Bear Study Team, compiled a report on the death of Lance Crosby. Crosby was hiking alone, off trail, and without bear spray when he was attacked and killed by an adult female grizzly bear in Yellowstone last August.

It’s that time of year again when Yellowstone’s herd of 4,900 bison start migrating down to lower elevations, often taking them outside park boundaries. Ranchers worry the animals will spread brucellosis to cattle and since the 1980’s the bison herd has been culled in response.

A new winter management plan released Tuesday says this year 600-900 bison can be killed through hunting or by capturing as they leave the park. Park spokesperson Sandra Snell-Dobert says the decision isn’t the park’s preference.

U.S. National Park Service

Yellowstone National Park is now open for winter tourism. Park guests can purchase guided tours for cross-country skiing, snow-shoeing and snowmobiling. This is also the second year the park will let snowmobilers get permits to enter the park without commercial guides.

Amy Bartlett with Yellowstone National Park says guests visiting the park in the winter time should be prepared.

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Yellowstone is heading for a record tourist season.

At every Yellowstone attraction, there were crowds this summer. There were lines of people with cameras and spotting scopes roadside, and miles long traffic jams when motorists failed to pull over for the iconic park wildlife.

More than 3 million visitors were in the Park by the end of August. Records were set every summer month. Gateway communities like Cody benefited. The owner of the Proud Cut Saloon, Del Nose, said it was busy.

Courtesy of Ken Lund, Flickr Creative Commons

It’s no secret that late summer is a great time to visit Yellowstone National Park. And, that means lots of traffic. With many people celebrating the Labor Day holiday, park officials say safety is a big concern. Park spokesman Amy Bartlett says that’s why park rangers and local law enforcement are working together to post traffic safety checkpoints along the park’s hundreds of miles of backroads.

nps.gov

It might have been a wet spring, but a couple months without rain has put Yellowstone at high risk for fire. Park spokeswoman Amy Bartlett says about 50 acres of forest ignited this week in an area along the southern shore of Yellowstone Lake known as Promontory Peninsula. Bartlett says, although you can see the smoke, there are no trails or roads in the area, only a couple campgrounds usually accessed by boat.

National Digital Library of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service

Yellowstone officials trapped a grizzly bear sow and her cub near Yellowstone Lake, and say they will euthanize the adult if DNA proves she killed a man in the Park last week.

The body of 63 year old Lance Crosby was found near Elephant Back Loop trail near Yellowstone Lake Friday. Park officials say he often hiked in this area, alone, and without bear spray. Although his body had been partially eaten, Yellowstone Superintendent Dan Wenk would not call the attack predatory.

Wenk said, “We have no way of knowing what the circumstances were around his death.”

Yellowstone River
National Park Service

After weeks of hot and dry weather, Yellowstone National Park’s fire managers raised the fire danger rating to “high”. The warning comes as the park heads into its busiest season and one of the biggest holiday weekends of the year.

Traci Weaver with Yellowstone National Park says that means visitors to the park this July 4th weekend need to be extra-careful when dealing with fire. She says campfires should be completely put out and cool to the touch, and fireworks are not allowed anywhere in the park. That includes things you might not think of as fireworks.

Treasure Hunting Leads To Mishaps

Jun 19, 2015
The Thrill of the Chase (A Memoir)

Treasure hunters had to be rescued from Wyoming’s backcountry twice in two years.

They were looking for the Forrest Fenn treasure chest. The multimillionaire from Santa Fe buried a box full of gold and jewels in the Rockies a few years ago. But the latest treasure hunt cost Park County, Wyoming a lot of time and money. Yellowstone officials say they’re having the same problem with other treasure hunters.

When Park County’s Search and Rescue is called to help people lost in the backcountry, they face some of the most rugged and remote terrain in the lower 48.

Wikipedia Commons

Like the enormous herds wild of bison that once thundered across the west, in coming years the forests of Yellowstone may, too, become few and far between.

That’s according to the new study The Coming Climate: Ecological Impacts of Climate Change On Teton County, commissioned by the Chartour Institute. Corinna Riginos is a research ecologist and co- authored the report. She tells Wyoming Public Radio’s Caroline Ballard the data itself isn’t new – but they’re using it to make predictions about what could happen to the ecosystem and economy in Northwestern Wyoming.

Jeff Henry

In 1988 much of Yellowstone National Park was engulfed in flames. At the time a young employee and budding photographer named Jeff Henry was asked to take photos of the fire.

Over 25 years later Henry has written a book about the fires that includes numerous photographs that he took on the front lines. The book is called The Year Yellowstone Burned: A 25 Year Perspective. Henry joins us and recalls how politicians and others were critical of the Parks approach to the fires. 

Huge Magma Reservoir Under Yellowstone

May 19, 2015
Hsin Hua Huang, University of Utah

Scientists say a mammoth magma reservoir lies under Yellowstone. It’s four times the size of the magma pool that fuels the super volcano. They say it holds enough hot rock to fill the Grand Canyon 11 times… but you shouldn’t worry.

Dr. Robert Smith is considered the world’s foremost expert on the Yellowstone super volcano system. His publication last year drew attention worldwide, when it declared the magma body under the park was two and a half times larger than previously thought. 

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Yellowstone National Park is partnering with area businesses to throw an Earth Day celebration on Saturday.

April 22nd was the forty-fifth anniversary of Earth Day. Yellowstone Environmental Coordinating Committee representative Rebecca Owens says the park will celebrate with community cleanups, children’s activities, and environmental education. She says this year there will be local vendors too.

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Above-average temperatures mean grizzly bears have started to emerge from hibernation in Yellowstone National Park. Over the last five years grizzlies have tended to emerge during the first half of March, which puts Monday’s first sighting of activity 2-4 weeks sooner than usual.

Yellowstone spokesman Al Nash says that could be a problem for visitors who are more used to preparing for potential grizzly encounters in the warm summer months.

Yellowstone Celebrates 20 Years With Wolves

Feb 6, 2015
Yellowstone National Park

Wolves were brought back to Yellowstone 20 years ago this week. They had been missing from the Park’s landscape for almost 70 years. Their reintroduction caught the world’s attention. But wolves are still controversial and still federally protected in Wyoming.

Humans standing alongside the road howled as Canadian wolves were carried into Yellowstone through the Roosevelt arch in January 1995. Excited tourists came from around the world to watch in them Lamar Valley the next spring. They followed the animals through spotting scopes.

Patricia Lavin

Scientists at the Northern Rocky Mountain Science Center are analyzing 250 tissue samples of elk, wild bison, and livestock in an effort to better understand how the disease brucellosis spreads.

Brucellosis sickens large mammals like elk and cattle, and can cause them to abort their young.  U.S. Geological Survey ecologist Pauline Kamath says a commonly held theory has been that Yellowstone’s wild animals have been infected with brucellosis by elk on Wyoming feed grounds. But her data shows that may not be as common as previously thought.

Rebecca Huntington

In the summer of 1988, 36 percent of Yellowstone National Park was on fire. To this day, it remains the largest wildfire since Yellowstone became a national park. Yellowstone's spokesperson at that time, Joan Anzelmo remembers what it was like to be at the center of the firestorm.

Wyoming’s Congressional Delegation is drafting legislation that would remove wolves from the endangered species list in the state. 

Montana and Idaho had their wolves de-listed via federal legislation and U.S. Senator Mike Enzi says the delegation is gathering support for its own bill. The proposed legislation would put Wyoming’s wolf management plan into law. That plan allows wolves to be shot on sight in most of the state. 

A federal judge has denied requests from the state of Wyoming, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and pro-hunting groups to change a decision last week that reinstates federal protections for wolves in the state.
 
U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday denied requests to change her ruling.

National Park Service

Millions of people visit Yellowstone each year to see its geysers, fumaroles, hot springs, and mud pots. It's the largest concentration of thermal features in the world. The park sits on top of the world’s largest active volcano. Called the Super Volcano. Its most recent eruption was more than 600,000 years ago. All that remains is the top, or caldera.

When you come into the Park they’ll give you a map and it has an overlay of the caldera. It’s huge.

yellowstonenationalparklodges.com

Yellowstone Park is celebrating completion of a two year, 29 million dollar renovation of its oldest lodge: Lake Hotel. Now all of the Lake Hotel’s redecorated rooms are ready for guest now. Penny Preston reports people worked through two bitter winters to complete the project.

In 1889, 27 years before there was a National Park Service, construction began on Lake Hotel.  It is Yellowstone’s oldest.  Two years ago, reconstruction started.

“The old hotel had been touched pretty harshly over the years.

Penny Preston

Yellowstone National Park lost two hundred cabins this spring. They were part of the park’s largest lodging complex. No, it’s not in the Old Faithful area, nor Mammoth. Penny Preston reports it’s in Canyon Village, where the park’s biggest hotel once stood.

PENNY PRESTON:  The Canyon Hotel was Yellowstone’s largest, from 1910, until 1960. It was created by Old Faithful Inn architect Robert Reamer. 

ROBERT REAMER:  “My parents used to like to go up there and have dinner.”

Tyler Nordgren

An exhibit opening this weekend at the University of Wyoming Art Museum is among the first major displays of astrophotography as art. ‘Starstruck: The Fine Art of Astrophotography’ is a dazzling exhibition, ranging from night skies and landscapes to deep space photography.

National Parks Could See More Money

Apr 7, 2014

President Obama wants to add 55 million dollars to the National Park Service budget, including ten million dollars to get parks ready for their centennial celebration in 2016.   John Garder with the National Parks Conservation Association says the money is needed to address billions of dollars in maintenance.

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A report by the National Park Service indicates that parks are major economic drivers for surrounding communities.

The report shows that park visitation generated more than $700 million in Wyoming in 2012 and supported thousands of jobs and local businesses. Nation-wide, tourists spent more than $26 billion when visiting parks.

The National Park Service does not wish to start using air guns to vaccinate Yellowstone bison for Brucellosis.

Brucellosis is a disease that can cause bison and other large animals to abort their calves. Currently, the park only vaccinates bison when they leave the park, and even then, only a few animals are vaccinated. But Park Spokesman Al Nash says after some legal disputes regarding bison management over a decade ago, Yellowstone agreed to look into new options.

Bill Sniffin is a journalist and entrepreneur who has lived in Wyoming for 42 years.  He has received acclaim far and wide for his work.  In his newest book, Wyoming's 7 Greatest Natural Wonders, we discover his love affair with Wyoming's many fascinating places he set out to discover.

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