News & Events
May 26, 2016
Construction Scheduled for Mud Volcano Area
The park Service will be rebuilding the stairs to Grizzly Fumarole at Mud Volcano Thermal Area. This section will be CLOSED to traffic starting Tuesday, May 31st. thru June 31st.
This will affect through traffic around the outer loop on the West side of Basin. There will be CLOSED AHEAD SIGNS placed at particular junctions to encourage visitors from trying to make the loop. New sections of Boardwalk are open at Sour Lake/Churning Caldron. Visitors will need to 'backtrack' down the hill to return to parking lot.
May 20, 2016
"A Bear Doesn't Care..."
Yellowstone National Park wants to increase the number of people carrying bear spray through a new engaging, celebrity-filled campaign called “A Bear Doesn’t Care.” Whether you are a hiker, backpacker, angler, photographer, wolf watcher or geyser gazer, the campaign encourages you to carry bear spray – no excuses!
“A bear doesn’t care how far you’re hiking, if you’re just fishing, or even if you work here,” says Superintendent Dan Wenk. “No matter who you are or what you are doing, you should always carry bear spray and know how to use it.”
Recent data collected by park scientists revealed that only 28 percent of visitors who enter the park’s backcountry carry bear spray. Studies show that bear spray is more than 90 percent effective in stopping an aggressive bear, in fact, it is the most effective deterrent when used in combination with our regular safety recommendations—be alert, make noise, hike in groups of three or more, and do not run if you encounter a bear.
“Yellowstone visitors care deeply about preserving bears and observing them in the wild,” says Kerry Gunther, the park’s Bear Management Specialist. “Carrying bear spray is the best way for visitors to participate in bear conservation because reducing potential conflicts protects both people and bears.”
Beginning this summer, look for posters in retail outlets, ads in magazines, and images on social media of visitors and local celebrities carrying bear spray while recreating in the park.
Local celebrities who appear in the campaign share the message that bear spray is essential for safety in bear country. Initial poster designs include alpinist Conrad Anker, artist Jennifer Lowe-Anker, and National Geographic photographer Ronan Donovan. Actor Jeff Bridges, writer Todd Wilkinson, fly fisherman Craig Mathews, and others will join the campaign in the coming months.
Posters from the campaign are available for download at:
https://flic.kr/s/aHskx93BCw and go.nps.gov/abeardoesntcare
Visit go.nps.gov/bearspray for information about bear encounters and how to use bear spray.
Bear spray demonstrations are conducted by park employees at Yellowstone visitor centers throughout the summer months. Park staff is available to speak with local groups upon request about the history of bear attacks in the park, contributing human behaviors, how to prevent/respond to bear attacks, and bear spray use.
May 18, 2016
Construction Scheduled on Trails in the Grand Prismatic Area
In early June, trail crews will begin constructing an official trail and overlook to replace the many existing social trails on the hills south of Grand Prismatic Spring. During construction, three areas will be closed to the public:
The hills immediately south of Grand Prismatic Spring
The Fairy Falls Trailhead and parking lot (located one mile south of Midway Geyser Basin)
The Fountain Freight Road between the parking lot and the Fairy Falls Trail junction
A map is available at https://www.nps.gov/yell/planyourvisit/gpareaclosures.htm.
During this closure, there is no access to the Fairy Falls parking lot and trailhead from the Fountain Freight Road. In addition, the area east of the Grand Loop Road around Midway Bluff is closed permanently due to resource damage from visitor use.
These closures will not affect access to the boardwalks around the Midway Geyser Basin. Hikers can access Fairy Falls using the Fountain Freight Road Trailhead located north of Midway Geyser Basin. Be prepared for a much longer hike: 8.8 miles round-trip rather than 5 miles round-trip.
Cyclists can ride from the Fountain Freight Road Trailhead as far as the Fairy Falls Trail Junction (6 miles round-trip), but there is no through traffic to the Fairy Falls Trailhead. Bicycles are not allowed on the Fairy Falls Trail: you must complete this section on foot (2.4 miles round trip).
During winter, skiers will be able to traverse the Fountain Freight Road to visit Fairy Falls and other destinations.
This is the first year of a two-year project. Once completed, a new trail and overlook will allow people to safely enjoy this popular destination that provides spectacular views of Grand Prismatic Spring and Excelsior Geyser.
Please note: Trails along the Fountain Freight Road and in the Fairy Falls area are closed until May 28 due to bear management restrictions.
May 16, 2016
National Park Service Calls on Visitors to Respect Wildlife and Safety Regulations
In recent weeks, visitors in the park have been engaging in inappropriate, dangerous, and illegal behavior with wildlife. These actions endanger people and have now resulted in the death of a newborn bison calf.
Last week in Yellowstone National Park, visitors were cited for placing a newborn bison calf in their vehicle and transporting it to a park facility because of their misplaced concern for the animal's welfare. In terms of human safety, this was a dangerous activity because adult animals are very protective of their young and will act aggressively to defend them. In addition, interference by people can cause mothers to reject their offspring. In this case, park rangers tried repeatedly to reunite the newborn bison calf with the herd. These efforts failed. The bison calf was later euthanized because it was abandoned and causing a dangerous situation by continually approaching people and cars along the roadway.
In a recent viral video, a visitor approached within an arm's length of an adult bison in the Old Faithful area. Another video featured visitors posing for pictures with bison at extremely unsafe and illegal distances. Last year, five visitors were seriously injured when they approached bison too closely. Bison injure more visitors to Yellowstone than any other animal.
Approaching wild animals can drastically affect their well-being and, in this case, their survival. Park regulations require that you stay at least 25 yards (23 m) away from all wildlife (including bison, elk and deer) and at least 100 yards (91 m) away from bears and wolves. Disregarding these regulations can result in fines, injury, and even death. The safety of these animals, as well as human safety, depends on everyone using good judgment and following these simple rules.
April 25, 2016
Postal Service Previews Last of 16 Stamps Celebrating National Park Service’s Centennial: Stamp Highlights Yellowstone National Park
A stunning photograph of two bison silhouetted in Yellowstone National Park’s winter morning sun was previewed today as the last of 16 Forever Stamp images to be revealed over a three-week period to celebrate the National Park Service’s 100th anniversary. The uniquely designed stamp pane containing all 16 stamp images will be previewed later this week.
The image was captured by Art Wolfe of Seattle, WA, who described it as, “a perfectly backlit bison standing on a small rise in Yellowstone’s Lamar Valley.”
“Rising at dawn and braving the -30 F temperature I was able to catch the first rays of the morning sun,” he explained. “The bitter cold of a long winter’s night had left the animals encased in a mantle of thick frost. I had scouted the area the day before and had seen the herd of bison. They had bedded down there all night and now were standing and trying to shake off the cold as the sun came over the horizon. These are the serendipitous moments I wait for as a photographer. I shot this in the days of film, so I didn't know until I got back to Seattle and had the film processed if I had been successful or not.”
Wolfe got the February 2000 shot using a Canon EOS-3, EF70-200mm lens set at f/16 for 1/250 sec. using Fujichrome Velvia film.
Yellowstone National Park, ID, MT and WY
Marvel. Explore. Discover. Visit Yellowstone and experience the world’s first national park. Marvel at a volcano’s hidden power rising up in colorful hot springs, mud pots and geysers. Explore mountains, forests and lakes to watch wildlife and witness the drama of the natural world unfold. Discover the history that led to the conservation of our national treasures “for the benefit and enjoyment of the people.” Visit this link for more information.
Other National Parks Forever Stamps previewed to date include Acadia National Park, Arches National Park, Assateague Island National Seashore, Bandelier National Monument, Carlsbad Caverns National Park, Everglades National Park, Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve, Grand Canyon National Park,Gulf Islands National Seashore,Haleakalā National Park, Kenilworth Park & Aquatic Gardens, Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park,Mount Rainier National Park, San Francisco Maritime National Historic Park and Theodore Roosevelt National Park.
The June 2 first-day-of-issue ceremony for the National Parks Forever Stamps pane will take place at New York City’s Javits Center at 11 a.m. as part of the world’s largest stamp show that only takes place in the United States once a decade,World Stamp Show-NY 2016. Dedication ceremonies will also take place at or near each of the National Parks depicted on the stamps. Individuals are asked to spread the news on social media by using the hashtags #NPSStamps, #FindYourPark or #NPS100.
World Stamp Show-NY 2016 will take place May 28–June 4. This mega event is not to be missed by beginners or advanced stamp collectors. There will be something for everyone there, no matter what you collect. Stamp collecting is a hobby for a lifetime. No matter what your specialty, you will find it at the show.
The Postal Service receives no tax dollars for operating expenses and relies on the sale of postage, products and services to fund its operations.
April 16, 2016
Yellowstone Celebrates National Park Week
In honor of National Park Week and the National Park Service Centennial, entrance fees to Yellowstone National Park will be waived Saturday, April 16 through Sunday, April 24 . National Park Week is an annual celebration of the parks and programs in communities nationwide that have allowed generations to discover history, nature, and wildlife in irreplaceable ways.
This year’s theme for National Park Week is “Find Your Park.” The Find Your Park campaign encourages everyone to find their own connection with the vast network of public lands and places that protect and preserve our natural and cultural heritage. Visit www.FindYourPark.com to learn more about National Park Week activities throughout the country.
National Junior Ranger Day is on April 16. Visitors four years old and older, even adults young at heart, are invited to participate in the park’s year-round Junior Ranger Program. Junior Ranger books can be purchased for $3 at visitor centers.
Throughout the centennial, park-lovers are using social media to share their park experiences. Join us on April 23 for an Instameet at Old Faithful Geyser. From 12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m., visitors can enjoy a special ranger-led program and take photos or videos to post on Instagram (and other social media) with the hashtags: #FindYourParkInstaMeet, #FindYourPark, #EncuentraTuParque, #NPS100.
During the week, the park will be involved in a variety of regional outreach programs, including Girls in Science on April 16 in Billings, Astronomy Day on April 17 in Bozeman, Greater Yellowstone Museum Adventure on April 20 and 21 in Cody, the Kyi Yo Powwow on April 22 and 23 in Missoula, the Gardiner Earth Day Celebration on April 23 in Gardiner, and Junior Archeologist day on April 24 in Bozeman. Rangers will visit schools, conduct distance learning programs, and host six schools from Massachusetts, Montana, Washington, and Wyoming for Expedition Yellowstone as well as three other school and youth group field trips.
The Albright Visitor Center, the Old Faithful Visitor Education Center (VEC), the Canyon VEC lobby with information desk, and the West Yellowstone Visitor Information Center will be open daily. The Canyon VEC exhibits and theater will open April 30. For more information, consult the park newspaper distributed at entrance stations or visit http://www.nps.gov/yell/planyourvisit/index.htm.
April 14, 2016
Boardwalk Repairs at Upper Geyser Basin to begin on April 11th
The Park Service is planning to rebuild nearly 600' of boardwalk from Castle Geyser/Crested Pool to the Fire Hole Bridge in the Upper Geyser Basin. This may take at least 6 weeks and will begin on April 11th. This entire area will be closed to the public.
Access to Sawmill and Grand Geyser is open from the east side of the Basin via Geyser Hill and Grotto Geyser trailheads.
Canyon Area Construction Projects
Inspiration Point CLOSED for the season for construction
Brink of the Upper Falls CLOSED for the season for construction
March 31, 2016
Spring Bicycling Begins on Select Yellowstone Roads
Beginning today, bicyclists willing to brave the unpredictable elements of spring in Yellowstone National Park are able to travel 49 miles of park roads from the West Entrance at West Yellowstone, Montana, to Mammoth Hot Springs. There is no bicycle access to Old Faithful or Canyon until the first interior park roads open to public motorized vehicle access on Friday, April 15.
A bicycle trip into Yellowstone this time of year is not to be undertaken lightly. The quickly changing weather can be challenging. Snow and ice may still cover sections of road. Tall snow banks may line roads and pullouts can be snow packed.
Bicyclists are required to ride single file and follow all other rules of the road. Cyclists should expect to encounter and yield to snowplows or other motorized vehicles operated by park employees or construction workers traveling in conjunction with park operations.
Bicyclists should be prepared to encounter bears, bison, elk, wolves, and other wildlife at any time. Riders are strongly encouraged to carry bear spray, be prepared to turn around when encountering wildlife on the road, and must stay out of closed areas.
No services are available along these sections of road. Cell phone coverage throughout the park is sparse and unreliable for communicating emergencies. Riders need to have a plan for self-rescue or repair and be prepared to be out in severe winter conditions for an extended period of time in the event they experience a mechanical breakdown, injury, or other emergency.
Cyclists can call 307-344-2109 from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on weekdays for updated road access information, or call 307-344-2113 for 24-hour weather information before committing to any ride in the park.
February 29, 2016
Yellowstone Bears Emerging From Dens
Grizzly bears are emerging from hibernation in the Greater Yellowstone Area, so hikers, skiers and snowshoers should stay in groups of three of more, make noise on the trail, and carry bear spray. Bear spray is a good last line of defense, if kept handy and used according to directions, when a bear is approaching within 30 to 60 feet.
The first confirmed report of grizzly bear activity in the Park was February 22. Wolf biologists observed a large grizzly bear in the Nez Perce drainage.
Bears begin looking for food soon after they emerge from their dens. They are attracted to elk and bison that have died during the winter. Carcasses are an important food source, so bears will sometimes react aggressively while feeding on them. The park implements seasonal bear management area closures to reduce encounters between bears and humans in areas where there is a high density of elk and bison carcasses.
Visit http://www.nps.gov/yell/parkmgmt/bearclosures.htm for a listing of bear closures.
Yellowstone regulations require visitors to stay 100 yards from black and grizzly bears at all times. The best defense is to stay a safe distance from bears and use binoculars, a telescope or telephoto lens to get a closer look.
While firearms are allowed in the park, the discharge of a firearm by visitors is a violation of park regulations. The park’s law enforcement rangers who carry firearms on duty rely on bear spray, rather than their weapons, as the most effective means to deal with a bear encounter.
Visitors must keep food, garbage, barbecue grills and other attractants stored in hard-sided vehicles or bear-proof food storage boxes. This helps keep bears from becoming conditioned to human foods, and helps keep park visitors and their property safe.
Visitors should report bear sightings to the nearest visitor center or ranger station as soon as possible. Updated bear safety information is available on the Yellowstone bear safety webpage at http://www.nps.gov/yell/planyourvisit/bearsafety.htm and in the park newspaper available at all park entrances.
February 21, 2016
Yellowstone Recruiting for 2016 Youth Conservation Corps Program
How would you like to help Yellowstone celebrate the Centennial of the National Park Service while you work, learn, play, and serve in the world's first national park?
Yellowstone National Park is currently recruiting for the 2016 Youth Conservation Corps (YCC) program, a residential work-based education program for young men and women between the ages of 15 and 18. The program is designed to develop an appreciation for the nation's natural resources and heritage through unique educational, recreational, and work experiences.
Yellowstone recruits youth from all social, economic, ethnic, and racial backgrounds for the YCC program. Corps members work together under adult leadership to complete conservation projects such as rehabilitation of trails, campground restoration, and a wide variety of resource management, visitor support services, and maintenance projects.
Participants and staff develop their job and leadership skills while further exploring personal values, gaining self-esteem, expanding their awareness of work ethics, and learning firsthand about environmental and conservation issues. Corps members will also participate in evening and weekend recreational activities and discover the many options for careers in the National Park Service and other land management agencies.
Yellowstone will offer two, month-long YCC sessions, June 12 to July 13, and July 17 to August 17. Sixty youth will be selected from across the country to participate in the program.
No previous wilderness experience is required, but a willingness and ability to work in a physically active outdoor program, getting along well with others, and maintaining a positive attitude are essential for success.
Participants will be required to live on location, and room and board will be provided at a minimal cost. Wages will be set at the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. Applicants must be citizens of the United States and be 15 years of age by June 12, but not over 18 years of age by August 17.
For further information and application materials visit:
Questions may be directed to the park's YCC Program Manager at (307) 344-2256. Completed application materials must be received no later than March 1, 2016.
The Yellowstone YCC Program is funded by park entrance fees and the Yellowstone Park Foundation.
February 1, 2016
Environmental Assessment available for Public Comment The Use of Quarantine to Identify Brucellosis-free Yellowstone Bison for Relocation Elsewhere
The National Park Service has completed an Environmental Assessment (EA) that evaluates various alternatives for a quarantine program for Yellowstone bison. The purpose of a quarantine program would be to augment or establish new tribal and public populations of plains bison to assist in the conservation of the species as wildlife, support cultural and nutritional opportunities for Native Americans, and reduce the number of Yellowstone bison shipped to processing facilities.
The EA was prepared in compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) to provide the decision-making framework to evaluate a range of alternatives for potential implementation of a quarantine program, including the location(s), of one or more quarantine facilities, guidelines for implementing quarantine, and the scale at which quarantine may be conducted.
A public "Open House-style" meeting will be held to explain, clarify, discuss, and solicit comments on the plan/EA. The meeting will be held:
February 8, 2016
Yellowstone Association Headquarters
308 Park Street Gardiner, Montana
6:00pm - 8:00pm
Written comments may be submitted at the meeting; online through the Planning, Environment and Public Comment (PEPC) system:
parkplanning.nps.gov/BisonQuarantine delivered to the park's Administration Building in Mammoth Hot Springs, WY; or mailed to the address below. Comments will not be accepted by fax, e-mail, or in any other way than those specified above. Comments must be received by midnight MST, February 15, 2016.
Attn: Bison Quarantine EA
PO Box 168
Yellowstone National Park, WY 82190
January 14, 2016
Report Released On Fatal Bear Attack In Yellowstone
Two reports are now available about the August, 2015 fatal bear attack in Yellowstone National Park.
The Board of Review report is available online through the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at www.fws.gov/mountain-prairie/es/Crosby%20BOR%20report%20final.pdf
The recommendations of the board of review are available at: www.fws.gov/mountain-prairie/es/Crosby%20BOR%20recommendations%20final.pdf
The complete National Park Service Investigative Report covering this incident has also been released. It is available online at http://go.nps.gov/crosby
January 8, 2016
IBMP Partners Agree on Bison Management Operations
Members of the Interagency Bison Management Plan (IBMP) have signed a winter operations plan that aims to reduce the current population of 4,900 animals. Because the Yellowstone bison population has high reproductive and survival rates, it will be necessary to cull 600-900 animals to offset the population increase expected this year. IBMP managers will decrease the population using two methods:
(1) Public and tribal hunting outside the park, and
(2) Capturing bison near the park boundary and then transferring them to Native American tribes for processing and distribution of meat and hides to their members.
Bison are a migratory species and they move across a vast landscape. When they are inside Yellowstone, they have access to all habitat. But in the winter, when some bison migrate to lower elevations outside the park in search of food, the surrounding states and some private landowners don’t offer the same access to habitat. Wild bison are only allowed in limited areas outside of Yellowstone because some are infected with the disease brucellosis that can be transmitted to cattle. Also, there are human safety and property damage concerns in some areas. The size of the population and the level of tolerance outside the park are two issues often debated by the IBMP partners and their constituents.
“Many people are uncomfortable with the practice of culling bison, including the National Park Service,” says Yellowstone National Park Superintendent Dan Wenk. "The park would gladly reduce the frequency and magnitude of these operations if migrating bison had access to more habitat outside the park or there was a way to transfer live bison elsewhere."
Currently, it is against state and federal laws to move any wild bison exposed to brucellosis anywhere except to approved meat processing or research facilities. The park is currently studying the feasibility of developing quarantine facilities for bison, which would allow animals that repeatedly test negative for brucellosis to be sent alive to other public, private, or tribal lands for conservation, hunting, or food production.
Capture operations will occur at the Stephens Creek facility near the park’s North entrance. This facility is operated on behalf of all IBMP partners to meet population reduction objectives. For safety reasons, the facility is closed to the public year-round. Under this year’s IBMP operations plan, capture will begin no earlier than February 15, 2016 and will cease no later than March 31, 2016.
In 1995, Montana sued the National Park Service because bison were migrating out of the park onto state lands. A court-mediated settlement was reached in 2000 creating the Interagency Bison Management Plan (IBMP).Today, the park and seven other partners (listed below) implement this plan, which was approved by the secretaries of the Interior and Agriculture and the Montana governor.
The park and the state of Montana are working together to update the current bison management plan (IBMP). While the existing plan has been effective at preventing brucellosis transmission and maintaining a viable population, the park believes a new plan is needed. There is new data about general biology and disease prevalence, and public opinion is shifting toward more tolerance for bison in Montana. You can find more information about this planning process at the NPS PEPC website at:
The cooperating agencies operating under the IBMP are the National Park Service, the U.S. Forest Service, the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, the Montana Department of Livestock, the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks, the InterTribal Buffalo Council, the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, and the Nez Perce Tribe.
Information on the IBMP is available online at www.ibmp.info. Additional information about Yellowstone bison and their management can be found at:
December 18, 2015
New Issue of Yellowstone Science Focuses on Grizzly Bear Ecology
The latest issue of Yellowstone Science is dedicated to grizzly bear research and conservation efforts in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, offering readers an opportunity to learn about the history of grizzly bear management as well as recent scientific findings.
The publication is produced by Yellowstone National Park with support from the Yellowstone Associationand the Yellowstone Park Foundation. The issue will be mailed to subscribers by early January 2016 and isavailable online (content and a free PDF download of the complete issue).
Dozens of collaborators contributed to this important issue which "was intended as a celebration of bears as a wonderful, remarkable animal and an integral part of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem," states Kerry Gunther, the issue's guest editor and Yellowstone's Bear Management Biologist.
The issue begins with a summary of forty years of grizzly bear recovery in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. Additional articles present recent research such as dietary preferences and the response of grizzly bears to changing food resources, demographics of the current greater Yellowstone grizzly bear population, bear habituation to people in national parks, grizzly range expansion, consumption of army cutworm moths at high elevation talus slopes, and the risk of a bear attack.
November 13, 2015
Yellowstone's West Entrance
Yellowstone's West Entrance will reopen for over-the-snow travel on December 15th.
Upcoming Events in West Yellowstone
Yellowstone Ski Festival
Christmas Stroll and Parade of Lights
Rodeo Run Sled Dog Races
October 8, 2015
Canyon Rim Overlooks and Trails Rehabilitation Plan Approved
The National Park Service has issued a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) to update and repair many of the overlooks and trails located along the rim of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River. NPS Intermountain Regional Director Sue Masica approved the FONSI on September 24, 2015 based on the Environmental Assessment (EA) recommended by Yellowstone National Park Superintendent Dan Wenk in mid-August.
The Wyoming State Historic Preservation Office concurred with the finding that historic and cultural resources in the area will not be adversely affected by the undertaking as planned. The approved action will address aging and deteriorating infrastructure, provide improved accessibility to visitors, improve pedestrian flow, address safety issues, and improve the visitor experience in the area, all while retaining the historic integrity of this extraordinary portion of the park. Areas to be addressed in the plan include: the Brink of the Upper Falls, the Brink of Lower Falls, Uncle Tom's, Inspiration Point, Red Rocks Point, Crystal Falls, and their associated connecting trails. With the EA and associated compliance completed, improvements to the overlooks, trails, and some associated parking for the first phase is scheduled to begin in the spring of 2016. Construction would occur in at least two phases with the first phase including Inspiration Point, the Brink of the Upper Falls, and Uncle Tom's Point dependent upon available funding.
Copies of the EA and the FONSI, and more information about this project, are available on the National Park Service Planning, Environment and Public Comment (PEPC) website, www.parkplanning.nps.gov/CanyonOverlooks, or by writing to: Compliance Office, P.O. Box 168, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming 82190.
September 26, 2015
Pete Webster Named as Chief Ranger of Yellowstone
Yellowstone National Park Superintendent Dan Wenk announced today that Pete Webster has been selected as the park’s new chief ranger. Webster has been the deputy chief ranger since July of 2014, and has intermittently shared the role of interim chief ranger for much of the past year. Webster succeeds Tim Reid who became the Superintendent at Devils Tower National Monument last fall. Webster is the park’s 17th chief ranger in the nearly 100 years it has been managed by the National Park Service.
As chief ranger, Webster is responsible for overseeing more than 275 employees in the Resource and Visitor Protection Division who perform law enforcement, emergency medical services, search and rescue, wildland and structural fire, dispatch, fee collection, special use permitting, trails, corrals, and backcountry operations.
“I am very pleased that Pete accepted this challenge,” said Wenk. “He brings a wealth of experience to this position, including proven leadership and a strong institutional knowledge of Yellowstone's resources and operations. His background as a field ranger, front-line supervisor, and chief ranger in a variety of parks across the country will serve him well in this complex position.”
During the past seven years, Webster has managed law enforcement, emergency services, fire, visitor management, dispatch, and wilderness operations in his roles as the deputy chief ranger at Yellowstone, chief ranger at Denali National Park and Preserve, and deputy chief ranger at Shenandoah National Park. He began his National Park Service career in 1988 as a Student Conservation Association intern at Glacier National Park. During his career, he has also served as the district and sub-district ranger at Glacier and at Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park and has worked as a field law enforcement park ranger at Yellowstone, Glacier, Katmai National Park and Preserve, Death Valley National Park, Big Cypress National Preserve, and Mount Rainier National Park.
A native of the Detroit, Michigan area, Webster received a Bachelor of Science degree in Fisheries and Wildlife Management from Michigan State University in 1989. He and his wife, Dawn, live in Mammoth, Wyoming, and have three children, ages 17, 15, and 10.
September 13, 2015
Spruce Fire Continues to Grow in Yellowstone
The Spruce Fire burning in Yellowstone National Park has grown to an estimated 1,164 acres as of 6:00 pm on Saturday. Fueled by warm weather, low relative humidity levels, and westerly winds, the fire is actively burning in the backcountry, approximately ten miles west of Fishing Bridge and two miles south of Hayden Valley in the central portion of the park. Crews monitoring the fire by helicopter report patchy burning within the fire's perimeter, isolated torching of single trees, and only a small amount of crowning in the late afternoon as the sun was high overhead and fire activity picked up on Saturday afternoon. This mosaic pattern of burning is typical fire behavior in a lodgepole pine forest. The lightning-caused fire continues to play its natural role in the ecosystem and is being managed for its benefits to park resources.
Although smoke from the fire is visible throughout the park and surrounding communities, no park facilities, structures, trails, or roads are threatened and there are no closures in place. Weather forecasts for Sunday call for continued dry conditions, with low relative humidity and possible gusty winds in the afternoon. Fire managers expect the fire to be active throughout today, continuing to increase in size with a very visible smoke column. A webcam at the Mount Washburn Fire Lookout shows excellent views of the fire area.
A much smaller fire, the 5L4 Fire on the Promontory Peninsula at the south end of Yellowstone Lake, was reported on August 24, is currently 16 acres and not very active. Fire crews are also managing this fire for its benefits to park resources. Backcountry campsites 5L3, 5L4, and 6A1 continue to be closed due to the 5L4 Fire.
The fire danger in Yellowstone National Park is currently "High." There are no fire restrictions in place, however, campfires are only allowed in designated grills in park campgrounds, some picnic areas, and specific backcountry campsites.
August 25, 2015
Lightning Starts Fire Near the South Arm of Yellowstone Lake
Lightning from recent thunderstorms has started a fire on the Promontory Peninsula between the south and southeast arms of Yellowstone Lake in Yellowstone National Park. Named for a nearby backcountry campsite, the 5L4 fire was reported on Monday, August 24, by park staff.
The 5L4 fire is currently estimated to be between three and five acres and is located within a 1500 acre section of unburned vegetation between the 2013 Alder fire and the 1988 Snake fire. While the fire is visible and growing actively through torching and spotting, it is not threatening any roads or structures. It is anticipated that the fire will naturally confine itself to this area of the peninsula and will be monitored by park fire crews and allowed to play its natural role in the ecosystem. Due to the fire activity, backcountry campsites 5L3, 5L4, and 6A1 have been closed until further notice.
The fire danger in Yellowstone National Park is currently “High”. There are no fire restrictions in place, however, campfires are only allowed in designated grills in park campgrounds, some picnic areas, and specific backcountry campsites. The National Multi-Agency Coordinating Group, which consists of top federal and state fire managers, raised the National Fire Preparedness Level to 5, the highest level possible, on August 13. The raised preparedness level reflects a high degree of wildfire activity, a major commitment of fire resources, and the probability that severe conditions will continue for at least a few days. There are currently 66 large fires or complexes of fires, burning in 11 states across the west.
August 19, 2015
Find Your Park and Celebrate the 99th Birthday of the National Park Service
The National Park Service is turning 99 years old on August 25 and Yellowstone National Park wants to give you a present –free admission! The usual entrance fee of $30 will be waived for all visitors on August 25. Come to the park and take part in a ranger walk, talk, or hike. There will be 77 programs available throughout the park that visitors can participate in.
In preparation for next year's big centennial celebration, the National Park Service is inviting everyone to Find Your Park. To encourage people to discover everything a park experience can be, there is a fun list of 99 ways to Find Your Park (http://findyourpark.com/nps99). Yellowstone is a great place to try # 19- Stand on a mountaintop or #93- Watch wildlife. You can also share your park experience with others by posting on social media with the hashtag #FindYourPark.
"The 99th birthday is an opportunity to make a connection to any of the National Park Service sites across the country," said Yellowstone National Park Superintendent Dan Wenk. "We believe these experiences create future stewards and advocates to ensure the National Park Service mission is alive and strong in another 99 years."
On Aug. 25, 1916, President Woodrow Wilson signed legislation to create the National Park Service. Today, there are 408 national parks throughout the country and each one tells an important part of the American story. Some commemorate notable people and achievements, others conserve magnificent landscapes and natural wonders, and all provide a place to have fun and learn. And, on August 25, all national parks will offer free entrance for everyone.
Yellowstone National Park was established as the first national park in 1872 to preserve the natural wonders of the area, including the thermal features and wildlife. Last year, more than 3.5 million park visits added $543.7 million to the local economy and supported 6,662 area jobs.
July 9, 2015
Yellowstone Pavement Preservation and Road Construction Updates
Advise: drive slow, watch for construction workers, pedestrians, animals and equipment.
Patching, crack-seal, surfacing, and striping activities
July 8-17 Old Faithful Area: In front of O.F. Inn, Snow Lodge, East lot from Ranger Station/Clinic to Visitor Education Center, Fountain Paint Pots, Flood Geyser
Canyon Area: North Rim Drive Pullouts, Grand View Parking, Lookout Point Parking
***24-HOUR CLOSURES ***
July 11 – Fairy Falls Parking Closure (7:00 AM to 7:00 AM; 24-Hours)
July 15 – Artist Point Parking Closure (7:00 AM to 7:00 AM; 24-Hours)
July 16 – Inspiration Point Parking Closure (7:00 AM to 7:00 AM; 24-Hours)
July 17 – Midway Geyser Parking Closure (7:00 AM to 7:00 AM; 24- Hours)
ROAD SEGMENTS chip-seal activities
July 6-7 Fishing Bridge east to Indian Pond.
July 8-10 Fishing Bridge junction south approximately 7 miles.
July 13-14 Continuing south another 6 miles to Arnica Creek pit.
July 15 West Thumb junction south to Grant Village junction. Possibly start north from West Thumb junction.
July 16-18 North from West Thumb junction to Arnica Creek pit, approximately 8 miles.
July 20-23 Sweep and clean-up operation, from Fishing Bridge junction to Grant Village junction.
July 1, 2015
Summer is here, and Yellowstone is welcoming visitors for the upcoming Independence Day holiday. Since July is the park’s busiest visitation month, the following tips and reminders are provided for ensuring a safe and memorable holiday weekend vacation:
Fireworks are not allowed inside the park or on the surrounding national forest lands. Annual fireworks displays are held in many of the park’s gateway communities.
After two weeks of hot and dry weather, fire managers increased the fire danger rating to High on Tuesday. High fire danger means fires start easily and spread at a fast rate. Campfires are only allowed in designated fire rings in the 11 developed campgrounds and most backcountry campsites. To properly extinguish a campfire, use water and stir the coals and ash until they are cold to the touch.
Whether along the road or along a hiking trail, visitors are required to view wildlife from a safe distance of at least 25 yards for most large animals and at least 100 yards away from bears and wolves. This is to ensure the safety of both people and animals.
Extra time should be factored into traveling from place to place in the park. Traffic congestion and delays due to a high volume of vehicles, especially when wildlife is on or near the roadway, should be expected. Visitors should keep their eyes open for animals present on the road and be prepared to stop for any wildlife sightseeing “jams.”
You can protect yourself and Yellowstone’s valuable natural resources by staying on trails and boardwalks in thermal areas. Pets, smoking and eating in thermal areas are also prohibited.
For current, 24-hour road conditions, please call (307) 344-2117. For current camping information, weather conditions and forecasts, please call (307) 344-2113.
June 10, 2015
As of 7 a.m. Thursday June 11th, park visitors will be able to travel between West Thumb Junction and Old Faithful when the last stretch of park road over Craig Pass opens for the season.
Construction crews removed an almost 75-year-old bridge over Isa Lake on Craig Pass, replacing it with a new bridge and widening the road to handle the current volume of traffic.
Crews have placed beams and paved the surface and approaches. "We are on target to open the road on Thursday, with minor traffic delays up to 30 minutes," said Mike Angermeier, Yellowstone landscape architect.
Crews will be working on the bridge railing, adding signs, topsoil and seed-mulching, as well as completing the pedestrian areas. The project also entails reconstructing two pullouts and adding an additional pullout to the northwest of the bridge. Expected completion of the project is Sept. 10th.
Elsewhere in the park, improvement projects continue on a 5.4 mile stretch of road between the Norris Campground and Mammoth Hot Springs, as well as the bridge over the Gardner River. Visitors should expect up to 30 minute delays and sometimes muddy conditions as crews work to complete that project by Oct. 1st. For up-to-date road construction information, go to http://www.nps.gov/yell/planyourvisit/roadclosures.htm.
Visitors will also see construction activity around Gardiner as crews enhance access to Yellowstone National Park through the North Entrance. The project includes improving U.S. Highway 89, revamping parking, traffic flow, signage and lighting, providing accessible walkways, building a welcome center with public restrooms, along with a new North Entrance station and an Arch Park amphitheater. Throughout the project, visitors will still be able to access the historic Roosevelt Arch for photos. For more detailed information, go to www.gardinergatewayproject.org.
June 6, 2015
South Entrance Backcountry Office is Currently Closed
Due to unforseen staffing shortages the South Entrance Backcountry Office is currently closed. The closest backcountry office where you can obtain backcountry permits is at Grant Village. They anticipate having the office staffed full-time by the first week of July, and we will keep you updated as things change.
Boat permits and AIS inspections are available at the South Entrance Ranger Station on a limited basis (Monday through Thursday and some Fridays).
Please call the Central Backcountry Office at 307-344-2160 if you have any questions.
June 4, 2015
Brink of the Lower Falls Trail Reopened Today
Rangers reopened the popular Brink of the Lower Falls Trail Thursday after crews removed a large boulder, cleaned up a mud slide and repaired damage to the trail caused by heavy rains in May.
Crews used drills to break apart the 7-feet-tall and 8-feet-long boulder that came down and blocked the trail. Part of the boulder remains in place on the trail to act as a catch basin to protect the trail from further rock fall. The crews used the remaining pieces in the restoration of the damaged trail. As a precaution, crews also released some loose boulders on the slope above that may have come down and damaged the trail in the future.
"This is a popular trail, and we're glad to have it open and safe for the public again," said Canyon District Ranger Tim Townsend.
Rangers remind visitors that many trails and other areas are still saturated by recent rain and snowmelt. Visitors need to be aware of their surroundings and footing throughout the park. Current trail condition reports are available at Yellowstone visitor centers or backcountry offices.
May 30, 2015
The Boardwalk crews will be transporting material (via helicopter) into the Porcelain Basin at Norris Geyser Basin on Tuesday, June 2nd.
In order in keeping this operation safe, and efficient they will be CLOSING the entire parking lot starting at 5:30 a.m. There will be a barricade and personnel at the junction.
They anticipate reopening between 10:30 a.m. and 11:00 a.m.
May 14, 2015
Yellowstone National Park Announces New Entrance Fees Starting June 1st
Starting on June 1, 2015, Yellowstone National Park will increase entrance fees for visitors in order to fund important resource protection and visitor facility projects within the park.
“We use our entrance fees to complete critical projects that benefit park visitors and our natural resources,” said Yellowstone Superintendent Dan Wenk. “Eighty percent of the revenue we collect stays right here in Yellowstone and funds projects including road repairs, campground upgrades, rehabilitation of park structures, accessibility improvements for people with disabilities, radio and utility systems improvements, native fish restoration and aquatic invasive species mitigation.”
The park estimates that the new entrance fees will generate $11 million of revenue per year, approximately $3 million greater than current entrance fee revenue.
The new fees are summarized here:
The entrance fee will be $30 per vehicle to visit Yellowstone National Park for 1-7 days. Grand Teton National Park will have a separate pass for $30. People visiting both parks can save $10 by purchasing a $50 two-park vehicle pass, also valid for 1-7 days.
Motorcycles can enter Yellowstone for $25 for 1-7 days or both parks for $40.
Per person fees will be $15 for Yellowstone or $20 for both parks.
Yellowstone’s annual pass will be $60. This pass offers visitors in the local area an option that is less expensive than the $80 Interagency Pass. The Interagency Pass rates will remain the same: Annual ($80) and Senior ($10). Military passes and Access passes (for people with permanent disabilities) will remain free.
Yellowstone National Park is a strong economic engine for the region and local communities. In 2014, the park generated $543.7 million in economic benefits and directly supported over 6,600 jobs. Previous fee increases have had no effect on visitation levels. The last entrance fee increase in Yellowstone National Park occurred in 2006 when fees were raised from $20 to $25 for private vehicles.
Park managers proposed a new structure for entrance fees and reached out to stakeholders through a public comment period in November and December 2014. The park solicited comments via mail and online, held meetings in Cody, WY, Jackson, WY, and Bozeman, MT, and held conference calls with Congressional Delegation staff, county commissioners, concessioners, and commercial use authorization holders. The 2014 proposal included a 1-3-day pass that was eliminated based on public comment.
April 14, 2015
Spring Road Vehicle Opening Schedule
Weather permitting, roads open at 8 am.
April 17: Mammoth to Old Faithful; Madison to West Entrance; Norris to Canyon
May 1: Canyon Junction to Lake; Lake to East Entrance (Sylvan Pass)
May 8: Lake to South Entrance; Tower Junction to Tower Fall
May 22: Tower Fall to Canyon Junction (Dunraven Pass); Beartooth Highway
June 11: Old Faithful to West Thumb (Craig Pass)
Yellowstone Road Construction
Norris to Golden Gate
Norris toward Mammoth Hot Springs
April 17 to October 1, expect traffic delays of up to 30 minutes.
Isa Lake Bridge Replacement
Between Old Faithful and West Thumb
Closed until June 11 at 7:00 a.m.
June 11 through September 10: expect traffic delays of up to 30 minutes.
West Yellowstone Activities
The Bear's Den and Yellowstone Giant Screen Theaters are open Monday-Saturday.
Grizzly & Wolf Discovery Center is open daily year-round.
Self-guided Historic Walking Tour, brochures are available at the Visitor Center in West Yellowstone, and along the route.
The Yellowstone Historic Center opens May 16th.
The Earthquake Lake Visitor Center opens on May 22nd, 10-6 pm daily.
March 21, 2015
Select Yellowstone Roads Open For Spring Bicycle Season - March 16th
Bicyclists willing to brave the often unpredictable elements of spring in Yellowstone National Park are able to travel 49 miles of park roads from the West Entrance at West Yellowstone, Montana, to Mammoth Hot Springs, Wyoming, beginning on March 16th.
There is no bicycle access to Old Faithful or Canyon until the first interior park roads open to public motorized vehicle access on Friday, April 17th.
A bicycle trip into Yellowstone this time of year is not to be undertaken lightly. The quickly changing weather can be challenging. Snow and ice may still cover sections of road which may be lined with tall snowbanks. Pullouts may remain snow packed. Extra caution is advised traveling through the five mile long road construction zone north of Norris Junction, which is not paved and may be muddy.
Bicyclists are required to ride single file and follow all other rules of the road. Cyclists should expect to encounter and yield to snowplows or other motorized vehicles operated by park employees or construction workers traveling in conjunction with park operations.
Bears, bison, elk, wolves and other wildlife could be encountered at any time. They are strongly encouraged to carry bear spray, and should be prepared to turn around and backtrack when encountering wildlife on the road, and must stay out of closed areas.
No services are available along these sections of road. Cell phone coverage throughout the park is sparse and unreliable for communicating emergencies. Riders need to have a plan for self-rescue or repair, and be prepared to be out in severe winter conditions for an extended period of time in the event they experience a mechanical breakdown, injury or other emergency.
The road from the North Entrance at Gardiner, Mont., to Cooke City, Mont., at the park's Northeast Entrance is open all year to cyclists and automobiles, weather permitting.
Cyclists are urged to call 307-344-2109 from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on weekdays for updated road access information, or call 307-344-2113 for 24-hour weather information before committing to any ride in the park.
March 17, 2015
Yellowstone National Park’s winter season is drawing to a close.
Park Roads that serve commercial and non-commercially guided snowmobile and commercial snowcoach travel to iconic Yellowstone locations will be closed in stages beginning Sunday, March 1st.
The road from the park’s East Entrance over Sylvan Pass and oversnow travel south into the park from Mammoth Hot Springs will end at 9:00 p.m. this Sunday. Closures on other road segments will occur during the next two weeks, with all oversnow travel scheduled to end for the season at 9:00 p.m. Sunday, March 15th.
After the roads close to oversnow travel, crews will begin to clear them of snow so they can reopen to automobile travel beginning Friday, April 17th, weather permitting.
At Old Faithful, the Old Faithful Snow Lodge, Cabins, and Dining Room will close for the winter season on Sunday March 1st. The Bear Den Gift Shop, the Geyser Grill and the Old Faithful Visitor Education Center will remain open through Sunday, March 15th.
At Mammoth Hot Springs, the Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel, Dining Room, and Gift Shop will close for the season Monday, March 2nd. The Mammoth Campground, Yellowstone General Store, Post Office, Medical Clinic, the Albright Visitor Center, and self-serve fuel pumps are open all year.
February 17, 2015
35th annual Yellowstone Rendezvous Race
March 7th, 2015
The 2015 Yellowstone Rendezvous Race will once again be part of the American Ski Marathon Series - North America's longest-running and largest citizen's racing and touring series - that highlights long distance ski events throughout the country. In the past, the race has attracted over 800 skiers. This year's theme is Jimmy Buffet! More details and registration: skiwestyellowstone.com
25th Annual Snowmobile EXPO
March 12-15, 2015
Arctic Cat, Polaris, Ski-Doo, and Yamaha will unveil their new 2016 snowmobile lines, vintage racing and show, M120 races and demo rides, Radar Runs, Drag Races, exhibits, casino night, Calcutta, Swoop stunts, and the return of live concerts Friday and Saturday nights with Wild Bill Productions and Octane Addictions Freestyle Show. Discount concert tickets are now on sale. snowmobileexpo.com
Yellowstone Special Stage Sled Dog Races
March 20-22, 2015
3 Days of racing - 3 stages: Day 1 - 12 miles, Day 2 - 14 miles, Day 3 - 18 miles
Spectators are welcome to cheer on the teams as they start and finish the races. Come watch the mushers compete in the Musher Olympics after Stage 1 on March 20th and March 21st spectators are welcome to compete against the mushers after Stage 2. For a complete schedule of events visit: wysleddograces.com
February 12, 2015
Bears Starting To Emerge From Dens In Yellowstone
Blame the relatively mild winter weather for the early emergence of bears in the Greater Yellowstone area.
The first confirmed report of grizzly bear activity in Yellowstone occurred on February 9. A grizzly bear was observed late in the afternoon, scavenging on a bison carcass in the central portion of the park.
With bears emerging from hibernation hikers, skiers, and snowshoers are advised to stay in groups of three of more, make noise on the trail and carry bear spray. The same advice goes for those taking guided snowmobile trips in Yellowstone.
Bears begin looking for food soon after they emerge from their dens. They are attracted to elk and bison that have died during the winter. Carcasses are an important enough food source that bears will sometimes react aggressively when surprised while feeding on them.
Updated bear safety information is available on the Yellowstone bear safety Web page at http://www.nps.gov/yell/planyourvisit/bearsafety.htm and in the park newspaper distributed at all park entrances.
Yellowstone also implements seasonal bear management areas closures to reduce encounters between bears and humans in areas where elk and bison carcasses are in high density.
A listing of these closures can be found at:
Yellowstone regulations require visitors to stay 100 yards from black and grizzly bears at all times. The best defense is to stay a safe distance from bears and use binoculars, a spotting scope or telephoto lens to get a closer look. All visitors traveling in the park away from developed areas should stay in groups of three or more, make noise on the trail, keep an eye out for bears and carry bear spray. Bear spray has proven to be a good last line of defense, if kept handy and used according to directions when a bear is approaching within 30 to 60 feet.
While firearms are allowed in the park, the discharge of a firearm is a violation of park regulations. The park’s law enforcement rangers who carry firearms on duty rely on bear spray, rather than their weapons, as the most effective means to deal with a bear encounter.
Visitors are also reminded to keep food, garbage, barbecue grills and other attractants stored in hard-sided vehicles or bear-proof food storage boxes. This helps keep bears from becoming conditioned to human foods, and helps keep park visitors and their property safe.
Bear sightings should be reported to the nearest visitor center or ranger station as soon as possible.
February 4, 2015
Fee Change for Overnight Backcountry Use Permits
The park service has announced a new fee structure for the backcountry use permits for overnight backpacking trips within Yellowstone.
Between Memorial Day and September 10th backcountry users will pay a per-person, per-night permit fee. Permit fees apply for group members age 9 years and older. Backpackers and boaters will pay a $3.00 per-person per-night fee. The group per-night fee will be capped at $15.00 per-night.
Stock parties will pay a $5.00 per-person per-night fee. There is no cap on the group per-night fee.
Backcountry users may purchase an Annual Backcountry Pass for $25.00, exempting them from the per-person, per-night permit fee. Annual Backcountry Passes are valid for the calendar year in which they are purchased.
The advance reservation fee remains $25.00 for trips reserved more than 2 days in advance.
January 25, 2015
Trail Guides Yellowstone was recently featured on “The Montana Experience: Stories from Big Sky Country.” This is a YouTube channel featuring new and original content from the state of Montana. The video was produced and filmed for The Montana Experience by Nestbox Collective.