Yellowstone News & Events
Yellowstone News from Trail Guides

News & Events

March 12, 2019
First bear sighting of 2019 in Yellowstone National Park; Protect yourself and protect bears
The first grizzly bear sighting of 2019 occurred in Yellowstone National Park just days ago. On Friday, March 8, visitors observed a large grizzly bear between Canyon Village and Fishing Bridge. Additionally, grizzly tracks were reported between Mammoth Hot Springs and Norris Junction on Monday, March 11. The first grizzly bear sighting in 2018 occurred on March 7.

Male grizzlies come out of hibernation in mid-to-late March. Females with cubs emerge in April and early May. When bears emerge from hibernation, they look for food and often feed on elk and bison that died over the winter. Sometimes, bears will react aggressively while feeding on carcasses.

All of Yellowstone National Park is bear country: from the deepest backcountry to the boardwalks around Old Faithful. Protect yourself and the bears people come here to enjoy by following these guidelines: Prepare for a bear encounter. Carry bear spray, know how to use it, and make sure it’s accessible. Stay alert. Hike or ski in groups of three or more, stay on maintained trails, and make noise. Avoid hiking at dusk, dawn, or at night. Do not run if you encounter a bear. Stay 100 yards away from black and grizzly bears. Use binoculars, a telescope, or telephoto lens to get a closer look. Store food, garbage, barbecue grills, and other attractants in hard-sided vehicles or bear-proof food storage boxes. Report bear sightings and encounters to a park ranger immediately. Learn more about bear safety.

“Yellowstone visitors care deeply about the conservation of bears and observing them in the wild,” says Kerry Gunther, the park’s bear management specialist. “Reduce human-bear conflicts by preventing bears from getting food and garbage, hiking in groups of three or more people, carrying bear spray, and making noise in blind spots on the trail.”

While firearms are allowed in the park, the discharge of a firearm by visitors is a violation of park regulations. Bear spray has proven effective in deterring bears defending cubs and food sources. It can also reduce the number of bears killed by people in self-defense.



March 1, 2019
Roads in Yellowstone begin to close for 2019 spring plowing
Roads in Yellowstone National Park will begin to close to oversnow travel on March 1. Spring plowing will start as road segments close. All oversnow travel will end for the season Friday, March 15, at 9 p.m. Weather permitting, some park roads will reopen to automobile travel Friday, April 19, at 8 a.m.

Road Closure Dates (gates close at 9 p.m.)
Friday, March 1, East Entrance to Lake Butte Overlook (Sylvan Pass)
Sunday, March 3, Mammoth Hot Springs to Norris
Tuesday, March 5, Norris to Madison, Norris to Canyon Village
Friday, March 15, all remaining groomed roads
At Mammoth Hot Springs, the Gift Shop, Ski Shop, and food services will close Sunday, March 3. The Mammoth Hot Springs Campground, Yellowstone General Store, Post Office, Medical Clinic, the Albright Visitor Center, and self-serve fuel pumps remain open all year.

At Old Faithful, Old Faithful Snow Lodge & Cabins close Sunday, March 3. The Bear Den Gift Shop, the Geyser Grill, and the Old Faithful Visitor Education Center will close Friday, March 15.

At Tower Junction, self-serve fuel pumps are available all year.

The road from the park’s North Entrance at Gardiner, Montana, through Mammoth Hot Springs to Cooke City, Montana, is open to automobiles all year.



February 14, 2019
Yellowstone seeks comments on proposal to develop seasonal housing for concession employees
The National Park Service seeks public comment on a proposal to develop seasonal housing for concessions employees in Yellowstone National Park at the West Entrance and Canyon Village.

The Environmental Assessment for the proposed project would evaluate two alternatives. In Alternative A (no action), no additional seasonal housing would be constructed. Alternative B would include construction of up to 25 recreational vehicle (RV) sites and a bath house adjacent to the Yellowstone General Stores warehouse near the West Entrance for concessions employees. Additionally, the proposal would redevelop and modify an abandoned loop at the Canyon Campground to house Canyon Lodge and Cabins employees. A combination of up to 14 RV sites and six modular homes would be integrated into the camper loop, and existing comfort stations would be rehabilitated to provide shower and laundry facilities.

Comments must be received by February 28, 2019. Comments may be submitted online at: https://parkplanning.nps.gov/concessionshousing, by hand-delivery, or by mail. Comments will not be accepted by fax, email, or by any other means.

Hand-deliver comments during business hours to: Albright Visitor Center, Attention: Concession Housing EA, Mammoth Hot Springs, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming 82190.

Mail comments to: Compliance Office, Attention: Concession Housing EA, P.O. Box 168, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming 82190.

Public Comment Considerations
Bulk comments in any format submitted on behalf of others will not be accepted.
Before including your address, phone number, email, or other personal information, be aware that your entire comment – including your personally identifiable information – may be made public at any time. You may ask us to withhold your personally identifiable information from public review, but we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so.

The proposed project is an undertaking as outlined under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) (36 CFR § 800). We welcome comments about historic properties or other cultural resources that fall within the project area.

The park is also completing compliance with Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act for this project, and consulting with the Wyoming State Historic Preservation Office on the proposed project.



February 13, 2019
Lewis River Bridge in Yellowstone to be replaced
On December 21, 2018, the National Park Service Acting Intermountain Regional Director Kate Hammond signed a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) for an environmental assessment (EA) to replace the Lewis River Bridge in Yellowstone National Park. The bridge is located south of the Lewis Lake Campground on the South Entrance Road.

The replacement will be built on a new alignment directly east of the existing bridge. Parking and pedestrian areas located north and south of the existing bridge will be redesigned and reconstructed.

The park considered two alternatives in its EA. Alternative B, the approved action, will shift the South Entrance Road several hundred feet to line up with the new bridge. Traffic will continue on the existing bridge while the new bridge is under construction. Alternative B was selected to ensure excellent bridge structure integrity into the future, improve pedestrian safety, and reduce localized vehicle congestion.

Depending upon funding, roadwork could begin as early as spring 2020 and last for two consecutive years followed by the spring of a third year. When the proposed project is implemented, construction delays would normally be limited to 30 minutes. There may be up to six temporary road closures of up to six hours each to set bridge girders. The Lewis River Falls Overlook Trail and parking areas would be closed during construction.



January 26, 2019
Timeline for Resumption of Operations at Yellowstone National Park
With the enactment of the continuing resolution, staff at Yellowstone National Park will resume regular operations beginning tomorrow. Employees are happy to return to work serving the American people and welcoming visitors to Yellowstone. Here are the details for the next few days:

On Sunday, January 27, visitor centers that are normally open at this time of year will reopen by 11:00 a.m. (this includes the Albright Visitor Center, the Old Faithful Visitor Education Center, the lobby of the Canyon Visitor Education Center, and the ranger-staffed desk at the West Yellowstone Visitor Information Center). As soon as visitor centers open, the public will again be able to obtain backcountry permits.

The park will resume collecting entrance fees on Sunday, January 27.

On Monday, January 28 a majority of furloughed staff will return and open the remaining park functions. For example, employees will begin to process the backlog of applications for special use permits, film permits, commercial use authorizations, and research permits. By midday Monday, the public will also be able to obtain permits for the non-commercially-guided snowmobile access program. The public affairs office will reopen on Monday.

The park asks for patience as employees work to reopen facilities and operations in a manner that is safe for them and the public. There is a lot of snow removal needed around buildings and safety checks that must be completed.

Again, the park extends a special thank you to the concessioners, especially Xanterra Travel Collection, who made donations during the shutdown enabling NPS staff to groom roads and allow oversnow access to continue. In addition, we thank our local gateway communities and partners who provided incredible support over the last 35 days, not only for the park, but also for our NPS family.



November 14, 2018
October 2018 visitation increases in Yellowstone
Yellowstone hosted 218,076 visits in October 2018. This is approximately a 2.9 percent increase from October 2017, making it the third busiest October on record.

So far in 2018, the park has hosted 4,078,770 visits, down 0.15 percent from the same period last year. The list below shows the trend over the last several years. With the increase in October, year-to-date visitation in 2018 is roughly 29 percent higher than it was in 2013 and 3 percent lower than it was in 2016, the park’s record year for visitation.

Year-to-date Recreation Visits (through October)
2018 – 4,078,770
2017 – 4,084,763
2016 – 4,212,782
2015 – 4,066,191
2014 – 3,483,608
2013 – 3,159,485



November 1, 2018
Yellowstone seeks comments on Environmental Assessment to replace Lewis River Bridge
The National Park Service seeks comments from the public on a proposal to replace the Lewis River Bridge on the South Entrance Road in Yellowstone National Park. The bridge was built in 1960 and is in poor condition. If scheduled, the project could begin in 2020 and end in 2022.

The proposal would include:
Replace the bridge to a new alignment directly east of the existing bridge
Reconstruct the road approaching the bridge to match the new alignment
Reconstruct the parking area on the south side of the bridge
Reconstruct the two pullouts on each side of the road on the north end of the bridge
Improve the hydrology of the river by removing four bridge piers located in the river

The Environmental Assessment (EA) for the proposed project would evaluate two alternatives: a no action alternative and one action alternative. In Alternative A, the no action alternative, the road, bridges, and parking areas would remain unchanged. Alternative B would include reconstructing the bridge and widening it to 30-feet, reconstructing the parking lot adjacent to the southwest corner of the bridge, and reconstructing the two pullouts located on the northwest and northeast corners of the bridge. The EA analyzes impacts to wetlands, visitor experience, and the wild and scenic values of the Lewis River.

If the proposal is implemented, construction delays would normally be limited to 30 minutes. There may be some temporary road closures. These closures could consist of regular nighttime closures, and four to six daytime closures lasting from four to six hours each. Any night or day closures would be advertised in advance of occurring. Access to the overlook of the Lewis River Falls would be closed during the duration of the project.

Hand-deliver comments during business hours to: Albright Visitor Center, Attention: Lewis River Bridge Replacement, Mammoth Hot Springs, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming 82190.

Mail comments to: Lewis River Bridge Replacement, P.O. Box 168, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming 82190.

Public Comment Considerations
Bulk comments in any format submitted on behalf of others will not be accepted.
Before including your address, phone number, email, or other personal information, be aware that your entire comment – including your personally identifiable information – may be made public at any time. You may ask us to withhold your personally identifiable information from public review, but we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so.

The proposed project is an undertaking as outlined under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) (36 CFR § 800). We welcome comments about historic properties or other cultural resources that fall within the project area.

The park is also completing compliance with Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act for this project, and consulting with the Wyoming State Historic Preservation Office on the proposed design.



October 11, 2018
Yellowstone's Uncle Tom’s Point and portions of the South Rim Trail now open
Uncle Tom’s Point, Uncle Tom’s Trail, and most of the South Rim Trail are open.

The Brink of the Upper Falls and a portion of the North Rim Trail (see map) are now closed until late Summer of 2019.

The Canyon Overlooks and Trails Restoration Project is a multi-year effort to restore the many viewpoints from which people enjoy the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. Artist Point, Inspiration Point, Lookout Point, and Grand View have already been restored.



September 19, 2018
New thermal activity in the Upper Geyser Basin
Over the last several days there has been new thermal activity in the Geyser Hill area of the Upper Geyser Basin. This includes new erupting vents splashing water on the boardwalks, surface fractures, and a rare eruption of Ear Spring on Saturday, September 15.

Geyser Hill lies across the Firehole River from Old Faithful and features dozens of hot springs, geysers, and fumaroles.

For the public’s safety some boardwalks and trails in the Geyser Hill area have been temporarily closed. Closure signs are posted. Find additional information at the Old Faithful Visitor Education Center during business hours. The boardwalks around Old Faithful remain open.

There are no signs of impending volcanic activity in the park.



August 31, 2018
Yellowstone's Inspiration Point reopens after rehabilitation
People visiting the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River are now able to enjoy the view from Inspiration Point. The overlook has been closed for a two-year rehabilitation project, which created an expanded viewing area that is safer and more accessible.

“The design of the new overlook uses natural materials to protect the natural setting and integrate the infrastructure into the canyon’s spires and cliffs,” said Superintendent Dan Wenk. “I’m excited for our visitors to experience Inspiration Point in a new way.”

There is a necklace of eight overlooks in the Canyon area connected by five miles of trails, all constructed between 1930 and 1950. For nearly 70 years, these vistas have hosted millions of people—and that visitation, in addition to natural erosion, has taken its toll.

To address maintenance needs and improve safety, the park undertook a major initiative to repair and improve overlooks, trails, and parking lots along the rim of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River. Lookout Point and Grand View were completed in 2005. Artist Point was completed in 2007. Inspiration Point is the fourth overlook to be rehabilitated. The fifth project, Uncle Tom’s Point and parts of South Rim Trail, is expected to reopen later this fall.

Immediately following the opening of Uncle Tom’s Point, the park will break ground at the Brink of Upper Falls, the next overlook in the long-term project. This area will be closed through 2019.

The rehabilitation work on Inspiration Point and Uncle Tom’s totaled $12 million. It was funded in part by Yellowstone Forever, the parks non-profit philanthropic partner.

The final two overlooks, Brink of the Lower Falls and Red Rock Point, will break ground as early as 2020 and the estimated cost is $10 million. With the opportunity to capitalize on $4.5 million in federal matching funds, Yellowstone Forever is currently seeking corporate and private donations for the last stage of this rehabilitation project.



August 24, 2018
UPDATE: Boy injured by bear
Law enforcement and bear management staff investigated the incident and determined that an adult female grizzly bear injured the 10-year-old boy from Washington.

Tracks observed by staff indicated the grizzly bear was with at least one cub-of-the-year or yearling bear.

The bears were likely foraging next to the trail when the encounter occurred. Park rangers do not intend to search for the bear since this incident was a surprise encounter with a female grizzly bear defending its cub.

“This incident could have been more serious. We applaud the family for traveling in a group, carrying bear spray, and knowing how to effectively use it during their emergency,” said Yellowstone National Park Deputy Superintendent Pat Kenney. “We wish their son a full recovery from his injuries.”

The Divide and Spring Creek trails remain temporarily closed. They will reopen after the trails have been inspected for recent bear activity.



August 15, 2018
Biologists set to begin grizzly and black bear trapping for research purposes in Yellowstone
As part of ongoing efforts to monitor the population of grizzly bears and black bears in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, Yellowstone National Park and the USGS would like to inform the public that biologists with the National Park Service and Interagency Grizzly Bear Study Team (IGBST) will be conducting scientific grizzly bear and black bear research operations in Yellowstone National Park from August 21 through October 31.

Team members will bait and capture bears at several remote sites within Yellowstone National Park. Once captured, the bears are anesthetized to allow wildlife biologists to radio-collar and collect scientific samples for study. All captures and handling are done in accordance with strict protocols developed by the IGBST.

None of the capture sites in the park will be located near any established hiking trails or backcountry campsites, and all sites will have posted warnings for the closure perimeter. Potential access points will also be posted with warning signs for the closure area. Backcountry users who come upon any of these posted areas need to heed the warnings and stay out of the area.

The Interagency Grizzly Bear Study Team was established in 1973 to collaboratively monitor and manage ecosystem bears on an interagency basis. The gathering of critical data on bears is part of a long-term research and monitoring effort to help wildlife managers devise and implement programs to support the ongoing conservation of Yellowstone’s grizzly bear and black bear populations.

The IGBST is composed of representatives of the U.S. Geological Survey, the National Park Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the U.S. Forest Service, the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho Tribal Fish and Game Department, and the states of Idaho, Montana and Wyoming.

For more information regarding grizzly bear research efforts call (406) 994-6675.



August 6, 2018
Public Notice of Transportation Event Pilot for the 2018-2019 Winter Season
Based on visitor feedback, Yellowstone National Park (Park) implemented a pilot program during the 2016-2017 winter season for the purpose of encouraging concessioners to provide daily, reasonably-priced, one-way oversnow transportation to and from the West Entrance and Old Faithful, and to and from the South Entrance and Old Faithful. To achieve this goal, two unused transportation events were distributed by lottery to interested concessioners already providing oversnow transportation services.

Under the pilot program, the selected concessioners provide shuttle service on a schedule that accommodates visitors both going to and leaving from Old Faithful and provides for lower rates than guided interpretive tours. Given the success of the pilot during the following 2017-2018 operating season in meeting visitor needs, the Park has decided to explore options for providing this important visitor service on a longer-term basis.

While the Park continues the necessary research to evaluate mechanisms for providing this service, the pilot will be continued for one additional year, during the 2018-2019 winter season. The pilot will provide for continuity of service and generate data that will inform the evaluation of longer-term options.

As stated in the winter use final rule, “the Superintendent may… make limited changes to the transportation events allocated to each entrance, after taking into consideration the location of wintering wildlife, appropriate snow cover, public safety, avalanche conditions, park operations, utilization rates, visitor experiences, or other factors.” 36 C.F.R. § 7.13 (l)(10)(xiii) Park resource and compliance specialists evaluated the extension of this pilot and determined that the impacts from moving a transportation event to the West Entrance would not exceed established thresholds. However, if the additional transportation event at the West Entrance proves to adversely affect Park resources, the Superintendent has the authority to adjust transportation events around the Park in order to protect resources. The Park looks forward to continuing to offer services that meet visitor needs while protecting Park resources and anticipates being able to make a determination regarding the future of oversnow shuttle service prior to the 2019-2020 winter season.



July 19, 2018
Retirement Date for Yellowstone Superintendent Dan Wenk
Superintendent Dan Wenk will retire from Yellowstone National Park on September 29, 2018, after a 43-year career with the National Park Service. This date was agreed to by officials at the Department of the Interior (DOI) and the National Park Service.

At the beginning of June, DOI notified Dan of his future reassignment to become the Regional Director of the National Capital Region in Washington, D.C. Dan declined this reassignment.

Until he retires, Dan’s areas of focus will be: finalizing the agreements for bison quarantine and relocation; collecting data and developing community support for the long-term visitor use management planning effort; concessions contracting; and working with park staff to continue improving workplace culture.

Cam Sholly, Yellowstone’s next superintendent, is expected to arrive in the park in October.



July 11, 2018
Yellowstone experiences second busiest June on record
The park hosted 810,884 visits in June 2018. This is a slight increase over last year (803,652 visits) and below June 2016 (838,316 visits) which remains the busiest June ever in Yellowstone.

So far in 2018, the park has hosted 1,381,707 visits, up 2.5 percent from the same period last year. The list below shows the trend over the last five years. Year-to-date visitation in 2018 is 27 percent higher than five years ago in 2014.

Year-to-date Recreation Visits (through June)
2018 – 1,381,707
2017 – 1,354,138
2016 – 1,432,071
2015 – 1,298,855
2014 – 1,084,826

The continued high level of visitation in the park underscores the importance of planning a Yellowstone adventure ahead of time. Visitors should anticipate delays or limited parking at popular destinations, and check road conditions on the park’s website before they arrive.



June 21, 2018
Yellowstone seeks comments on proposal to replace Lewis River Bridge
T
he National Park Service invites comments from the public on a proposal to build a replacement bridge over the Lewis River in Yellowstone National Park. The new bridge would be located directly east of the existing bridge on the park’s South Entrance Road between the South Entrance and Grant Village. In this proposal, the South Entrance Road would remain open for public travel during construction.

This project is needed to address the deteriorating condition of the Lewis River Bridge. Constructed in 1960, a recent Federal Highway Administration Inspection Report cited problems with the bridge’s concrete surface, foundation, and railings. In addition to replacing the bridge, the proposal outlines plans to reconfigure the adjacent Lewis River Falls parking area to reduce traffic hazards. If approved and funding is secured, construction would begin in the spring of 2019 and continue through 2020.

Comments must be received by July 23, 2018. Comments may be submitted online at http://parkplanning.nps.gov/lrb, by hand-delivery, or by mail. Comments will not be accepted by fax, email, or by any other means.

Hand-deliver comments during business hours to: Albright Visitor Center, Attention: Lewis River Bridge EA, Mammoth Hot Springs, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming 82190.
Mail comments to: Compliance Office, Attention: Lewis River Bridge EA, P.O. Box 168, Yellowstone National Park, WY 82190.

Public Comment Considerations
• Bulk comments in any format submitted on behalf of others will not be accepted.
• Before including your address, phone number, email, or other personal information, be aware that your entire comment – including your personally identifiable information – may be made public at any time. You may ask us to withhold your personally identifiable information from public review, but we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so.

An Environmental Assessment will be prepared in compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act and Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act to provide the decision-making framework to evaluate a range of alternatives to meet project objectives and evaluate potential issues and impacts to park resources and values.



June 7, 2018
Woman gored by bison after crowd gets too close
On the morning of June 6, 59-year-old Kim Hancock of Santa Rosa, California, was gored by a bull bison at Fountain Paint Pot in the Lower Geyser Basin.

Hancock and a crowd of people approached within ten yards of the bison while walking along a boardwalk. At one point, people were closer than 15 feet from the bison. When it crossed the boardwalk, the bison became agitated and charged the crowd, goring Hancock. The bison immediately left the area.

Rangers responded to the incident and treated Hancock for a hip injury: she was transported by paramedic ambulance to the Big Sky Medical Center in Big Sky, Montana, in good condition. This incident remains under investigation.

This is the second incident of a bison injuring a visitor in 2018 (previous release: Bison injures visitor at Old Faithful). There was one incident in 2017 and five in 2015. In a little over a month, four people have been injured by wildlife in Yellowstone.

Animals in Yellowstone are wild and unpredictable, no matter how calm they appear to be. Give animals space when they’re near trails, boardwalks, parking lots, or in developed areas. Always stay at least 100 yards (91 m) away from bears and wolves, and at least 25 yards (23 m) away from all other animals, including bison and elk. If you can’t maintain these distances, turn around and find an alternate route



June 5, 2018
Second Person Injured By Elk In Accidental Encounter
Penny Allyson Behr, age 53, from Cypress, Texas was attacked by a cow elk in an accidental encounter behind the Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel on the morning of Tuesday, June 5.

Ms. Behr was walking between two cabins when she was surprised by an elk bedded along the cabin wall with a calf nearby. She attempted to back away but the elk pursued and struck her with its legs in the head and torso. Ms. Behr was taken by ambulance to Livingston Memorial Hospital.

It’s very common for cow elk to aggressively defend newborn calves and hide them near buildings and cars. Be extra cautious anywhere elk and calves are present: approach blind corners slowly and maintain a safe distance (at least 25 yards).

It’s not known if this was the same elk involved in the incident on June 3. Rangers hazed the elk away from the cabins and continue to monitor the area. No citation was issued.



June 4, 2018
Person Seriously Injured By Elk
Charlene Triplett, age 51, from Las Vegas, Nevada, was attacked by a cow elk behind the Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel on Sunday, June 3.

The elk was protecting a calf bedded down roughly 20 feet away and hidden by other cars. It’s not known if Ms. Triplett saw the calf or the elk prior to the encounter.

The elk reportedly reared up and kicked Ms. Triplett multiple times with its front legs, hitting her head, torso, and back. Due to the severity of her injuries, Ms. Triplett was flown to the trauma center at Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center. At the time of the incident Ms. Triplett was off-duty. She is an employee at the Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel.

Rangers remained in the area to warn others about the elk and calf. No citation was issued.
Use caution around elk, especially during calving season: always remain at least 25 yards (23 meters) away from these animals.



June 1, 2018
Superintendent Dan Wenk announces retirement in 2019
Yellowstone National Park Superintendent Dan Wenk announced his decision to retire on March 30, 2019. At that time, Wenk will have more than 43 years of public service dedicated to the national park system.

“I’ve had an amazing career with the National Park Service,” said Superintendent Wenk. “It is an honor and a privilege to preserve national park resources and provide incredible visitor experiences, and I’m not done yet. I’m in the midst of several important projects that I will finish before I depart to ensure the smoothest transition for Yellowstone.”

Over Wenk’s remaining tenure, his areas of focus will be: implementing the bison quarantine program by sending live animals to the tribes at Fort Peck; collecting data and developing community support for the long-term visitor use management planning effort; negotiating concessions contracts; managing transboundary wildlife issues; and working with park staff to improve workplace culture.

As the current Superintendent of Yellowstone National Park since 2011, Wenk manages more than 2.2 million acres, a staff of 800, and an annual budget of more than $60 million.

Wenk served as Deputy Director of Operations for the National Park Service in Washington D.C. from 2007 through 2011. He served as Acting Director of the National Park Service for nine months in 2009. In these national roles, Wenk received the Department of the Interior Secretary’s Executive Leadership Award and the Presidential Rank Award.

Wenk’s career with the National Park Service began in 1975 as a landscape architect. He was named Superintendent of Mount Rushmore National Memorial in 1985 where he served for 16 years. In 2001, he was appointed the Director of the Denver Service Center, which is the National Park Service’s central office with responsibility for planning, design and construction.



May 16, 2018
Bison quarantine approved
On May 14, 2018, the National Park Service (NPS) Intermountain Regional Director signed the Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) for the environmental assessment (EA), The Use of Quarantine to Identify Brucellosis-free Yellowstone Bison for Relocation Elsewhere. The approved FONSI allows the NPS to implement a quarantine program, as described in the selected action.

The purpose of the quarantine program is to augment or establish new conservation and cultural herds of plains bison, enhance cultural and nutritional opportunities for American Indians, and reduce shipments of Yellowstone bison to slaughter facilities. “

Quarantine is a positive step forward for bison conservation,” said Yellowstone Superintendent Dan Wenk. “The NPS will continue to work closely with tribes, the State of Montana, the US Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, and other stakeholders to implement this program.”

The NPS conducted a 45-day public scoping period for the EA, from July 28 to September 12, 2014. The scoping period included public meetings in Gardiner and Bozeman, Montana, on August 18 and 19, 2014. The NPS then prepared the EA and released it for a 45-day public comment and review on January 13, 2016. After completion of the public comment period, the NPS reviewed comments and worked with state, federal, and tribal partners to develop the selected action and prepare the FONSI. Responses to public comments on the EA can be found in the Errata Sheet section of the FONSI.



May 3, 2018
Bison injures visitor at Old Faithful
On the afternoon of May 1, 72-year-old Virginia Junk of Boise, Idaho, was butted in the thigh, pushed, and tossed off a trail by a bison in the Old Faithful area. Junk did not see the animal as she walked around a bend in the trail and wasn't able to move away before the animal dropped its head and pushed her off the trail. Rangers responded to the incident and treated Junk’s minor injuries. Junk was transported by ambulance to Madison Memorial Hospital in Rexburg, Idaho. No citations were issued.

This is the first incident of a bison injuring a visitor in 2018. There was one incident in 2017 and five in 2015. Animals in Yellowstone are wild and unpredictable, no matter how calm they appear to be. When an animal is near a trail, boardwalk, parking lot, or in a developed area, give it space. Always stay at least 100 yards (91 m) away from bears and wolves, and at least 25 yards (23 m) away from all other animals, including bison and elk. If need be, turn around and go the other way to avoid interacting with a wild animal in close proximity.



April 24, 2018
Road improvements between Fishing Bridge and Indian Pond
Improvements made to a 3.5-mile section of the East Entrance Road between Fishing Bridge and Indian Pond this year will benefit visitors and improve infrastructure in the park. Road construction efforts will widen narrow roads, improve entry and exit points into developed areas, provide for better scenic viewing opportunities along the road, and repair the historic Fishing Bridge. Anticipate delays if your travel plans include visiting the park from the East Entrance.

The East Entrance Road to Fishing Bridge and Lake is scheduled to open to the public May 4, weather permitting. Visitors should expect 30-minute delays between Fishing Bridge and Indian Pond (excluding Memorial Day, Independence Day, and Labor Day weekends).

From October 15 through November 5, 2018, the road between Sedge Bay and Fishing Bridge will be closed. During the closure, the East Entrance Road will remain open from the entrance to Sedge Bay, weather permitting.

Visitors traveling to and from Cody will need to use the Northeast Entrance during this closure. Tower Fall to Canyon (Dunraven Pass) traditionally closes on October 9. Depending on weather, staff may keep it open after October 9 to allow for an additional route to and from Cody via the Northeast Entrance.

Find updated road status on the park website, at visitor centers, and by calling (307) 344-2117. To receive Yellowstone road alerts on your mobile phone, text "82190" to 888-777 (an automatic text reply will confirm receipt and provide instructions).



April 13, 2018
Yellowstone National Park changes entrance fee to address infrastructure needs & improve visitor experience
The National Park Service (NPS) announced today that Yellowstone National Park will modify its entrance fees beginning June 1, 2018 to provide additional funding for infrastructure and maintenance needs that enhance the visitor experience. Effective June 1, the park entrance fee will be $35 per vehicle or $30 per motorcycle. An annual park pass will cost $70.

The NPS last October proposed a plan to adopt seasonal pricing at Yellowstone and 16 other national parks to raise additional revenue for infrastructure and maintenance needs. The fee structure announced today addresses many concerns and ideas provided by the public on how best to address fee revenue for parks.

Revenue from entrance fees remains in the National Park Service and helps ensure a quality experience for all who visit. Here in Yellowstone, 80 percent of entrance fees stay in the park and are devoted to spending that supports the visitor. We share the other 20 percent of entry fee income with other national parks for their projects.

“Yellowstone uses revenues from entrance fees collected to improve visitor facilities,” said Superintendent Dan Wenk. Visitors benefit when park roads, trails, and boardwalks are maintained and provide access to the park’s treasures.”

National parks have experienced record breaking visitation, with more than 1.5 billion visitors in the last five years. Throughout the country, the combination of aging infrastructure and increased visitation affects park roads, bridges, buildings, campgrounds, water systems, bathrooms, and other facilities. Maintenance deferred on these facilities amounts to an $11.6 billion nationwide backlog.

Entrance fees collected by the National Park Service totaled $199.9 million in Fiscal Year 2016. The NPS estimates that once fully implemented, the new fee structure will increase annual entrance fee revenue by about $60 million.

Yellowstone National Park has had an entrance fee since 1916. The current rate of $30 per vehicle or $25 per motorcycle has been in effect since 2015. The park is one of 117 in the National Park System that charges an entrance fee. The remaining 300 sites are free to enter.

The price of the annual America the Beautiful National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Annual Pass and Lifetime Senior Pass will remain $80.

Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks have not yet determined how this new fee structure will affect the combined parks’ seven-day entrance pass.

The National Park Service has a standardized entrance fee structure, composed of four groups based on park size and type. Yellowstone is one of 10 sites in group 4.

June 1, 2018
Per Vehicle: $35
Motorcycle: $30
Per Person: $20
Annual Park Specific Pass: $70



March 13, 2018
First bear sightings of the year in Yellowstone National Park
The first grizzly bear sightings of 2018 occurred in Yellowstone National Park last week. On Tuesday, March 6, staff observed an 11-year-old male grizzly bear wearing a radio collar in the west-central part of the park. On Wednesday, March 7, employees reported seeing a grizzly bear in the east-central part of the park.

Male grizzlies come out of hibernation in mid-to-late March. Females with cubs emerge later, in April to early May. When bears emerge from hibernation, they look for food and often feed on elk and bison that died over the winter. Sometimes, bears will react aggressively while feeding on carcasses. 

All of Yellowstone National Park is bear country: from the deepest backcountry to the boardwalks around Old Faithful. Your safety cannot be guaranteed, but you can play an active role in protecting yourself and the bears people come here to enjoy by following these guidelines:

• Prepare for a bear encounter. 
• Carry bear spray, know how to use it, and make sure it’s accessible. 
• Stay alert. 
• Hike or ski in groups of three or more, stay on maintained trails, and make noise.
• Avoid hiking at dusk, dawn, or at night.
• Do not run if you encounter a bear. 
• Stay 100 yards away from black and grizzly bears.
• Use binoculars, a telescope, or telephoto lens to get a closer look.  
• Store food, garbage, barbecue grills, and other attractants in hard-sided vehicles or bear-proof food storage boxes.
• Report bear sightings and encounters to a park ranger immediately.
• Learn more about bear safety. 

“Many Yellowstone visitors are deeply passionate about the conservation of park bears,” says Kerry Gunther, the park’s bear management specialist. “Reducing human-bear conflicts by preventing bears from obtaining food and garbage, hiking in groups of three or more people, carrying bear spray, and making noise in blind spots on the trail are the best way for visitors to protect bears while recreating in the park.”

While firearms are allowed in the park, the discharge of a firearm by visitors is a violation of park regulations. Bear spray has proven effective in deterring bears defending cubs and food sources. It can also reduce the number of bears killed by people in self-defense.



March 8, 2018
Felt sole boot ban and new boating season
Aquatic invasive species (AIS) could have devastating ecological, economic, and recreational impacts on Yellowstone National Park. They are costly to manage and extremely difficult to eradicate. Due to the urgent need to prevent these destructive species from entering the park, felt sole waders and boots worn by anglers will be banned permanently starting in 2018. The park will also implement a new boating season.

Felt Sole Ban
Felt sole waders and boots will be banned because they can carry microscopic organisms even after cleaning. Rubber sole boots will be allowed. They trap fewer organisms than felt and can be cleaned with water and a scrub brush. Read the park’s fishing regulations to learn more about the ban.

Boating Season
Boats will be allowed to enter park waters from 7 a.m. on Saturday, May 26, until 5:30 p.m. on Sunday, November 4.

All watercraft are required to have a boat permit and a Yellowstone AIS inspection before launching in the park. Watercraft include, but are not limited to, power boats, sail boats, canoes, kayaks, and angler float tubes. Permits and inspections are available seven days a week between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. at various locations in the park.

If a boat does not pass the AIS inspection, it will not be allowed to enter park waters.
Instituting a boating season guarantees the park will have staff to provide timely boat inspections.

Take action. Ensure that you don’t transport AIS to Yellowstone and that your watercraft will be permitted to launch: Clean all plants, animals, mud, sand, and other debris from your boat, anchor, boots, and equipment. Use high-pressure, hot (120-140F) water if possible.

Drain all water from your boat including the motor, bilge, livewell, and other compartments before you arrive. Leave drain plugs out during transport. Do not dump water or organisms from one water body into another. Dry all compartments and equipment in the sun for five days.



March 2, 2018
Roads in Yellowstone begin to close for spring plowing
Roads in Yellowstone National Park will begin to close to oversnow travel the week of March 4.Spring plowing will begin as road segments close. All oversnow travel will end for the season Thursday, March 15, at 9 p.m. Weather permitting, some park roads will reopen to automobile travel Friday, April 20.  

Road Closure Dates (Gates close at 9 p.m.) 
Sunday, March 4
The road from Mammoth Hot Springs to Norris will close.   

Tuesday, March 6
Roads from Norris to Madison and Norris to Canyon Village will close.

Sunday, March 11
Roads from Canyon Village to Fishing Bridge to Lake Butte Overlook will close. The road from Lake Butte Overlook over Sylvan Pass to the East Entrance closed on Thursday, March 1.

Thursday, March 15
The remaining park roads will close.  

At Mammoth Hot Springs, the Hotel, Dining Room, Gift Shop, and Ski Shop will close for the season Monday, March 5. The Mammoth Campground, Yellowstone General Store, Post Office, Medical Clinic, the Albright Visitor Center, and self-serve fuel pumps remain open all year.  

At Old Faithful, Old Faithful Snow Lodge & Cabins close Sunday, March 4. The Bear Den Gift Shop, the Geyser Grill, and the Old Faithful Visitor Education Center will close Thursday, March 15.  

At Tower Junction, self-serve fuel pumps are available all year.  

The road from the park’s North Entrance at Gardiner, Montana, through Mammoth Hot Springs to Cooke City, Montana, is open to automobiles all year.



February 22, 2018
Second Act of Sabotage at Stephens Creek Facility
Sometime between 9 p.m. February 21 and 6 a.m. February 22, unknown individuals intentionally compromised the fences at Stephens Creek releasing approximately 73 of the 96 bison that were inside the pen. Many, if not all, of the bison remained in the immediate area. Most returned to the pen via the same illegal fence openings over the course of the morning.

Park staff repaired the fence to re-secure the facility by mid-day. The 96 bison captured this past week had not yet been processed or tested for brucellosis. Some would have been held for possible quarantine, while others would have been transferred to Native American tribes and shipped to slaughter.

The National Park Service has initiated a new criminal investigation for this incident. The park is reviewing security measures at the facility and will make improvements immediately. "This act of sabotage, along with the incident that occurred on January 16, is a setback for bison conservation," said Superintendent Dan Wenk. "Creating a successful quarantine program will allow the transfer of live animals to tribes to develop conservation herds on tribal lands. The saboteurs are only ensuring more bison will be shipped to slaughter."

Background
Operations at the Stephens Creek facility are taken in support of the Interagency Bison Management Plan (IBMP) goal to reduce the population this winter. Partners are aiming to cull 600-900 animals through a combination of shipping and the public and tribal hunt.
On January 4, 2018, the IBMP partners agreed to a 2018 winter operations plan that calls for a reduction of Yellowstone’s current population of 4,800 bison because the state of Montana has limited tolerance for natural bison migrations from the park onto state lands.
Bison capture and shipping operations may continue through March.

Information about the number of animals that are captured, processed, shipped, and hunted will be provided every other week in the Bison Operations Updates of the IBMP website.



February 12, 2018
Yellowstone recruiting for 2018 Youth Conservation Corps program
AHow would you like to work, learn, play, and serve in the world’s first national park? Yellowstone is currently recruiting for the 2018 Youth Conservation Corps (YCC), a residential work-based education program for young men and women between the ages of 15 and 18.

Completed application materials must be received by March 1, 2018.

Two, month-long YCC sessions will be offered June 10 to July 11 and July 15 to August 15. Sixty youth will be selected from across the country to participate in the program. Applicants must be citizens of the United States and 15 years of age by June 10, but not over 18 years of age by August 15. Yellowstone recruits youth from all social, economic, ethnic, and racial backgrounds for the program.

No previous wilderness experience is required. Applicants should possess a positive attitude, a willingness and ability to work in a physically active outdoor program, and get along well with others.

Participants will be required to live in the park. Room and board will be provided at a minimal cost. Wages will be set at the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour.

YCC is designed to develop an appreciation for the nation's natural resources and heritage through unique educational, recreational, and work experiences. Corps members work together with National Park Service staff 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 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 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.

The Yellowstone YCC Program is funded by park entrance fees and generous donations to Yellowstone Forever, the official nonprofit partner of Yellowstone National Park.



February 2, 2018
Digital entrance pass now available for Yellowstone
Starting Thursday, February 1, visitors to Yellowstone National Park can purchase digital annual and seven-day entrance passes online at YourPassNow. The National Park Service (NPS) partnered with NIC Inc. to develop and administer YourPassNow to better serve visitors to Yellowstone.

“We are pleased to offer a digital option to purchasing passes at entrance gates and to usher in a new era of online convenience for our visitors,” said park superintendent Dan Wenk.

YourPassNow provides an alternative to the traditional paper-based, in-person purchase method while also providing the park with a tool to help manage the visitor experience. Using a personal device, visitors can purchase park entrance passes from www.yourpassnow.com at no additional cost. Once purchased, passes are emailed and can be used immediately, stored on a personal device, or printed for future use.

In 2016, Acadia National Park (Maine), Colorado National Monument (Colorado), Theodore Roosevelt National Park (North Dakota), Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks (California), Castillo de San Marcos National Monument (Florida), Everglades National Park (Florida), and Whiskeytown National Recreation Area (California) made online entrance passes available with YourPassNow.

Yellowstone uses entrance fees to invest in critical improvements that directly benefit visitors, including maintaining and enhancing visitor facilities.

Yellowstone National Park 2018 annual and seven-day fees include:
$60 annual entrance pass fee
$30 seven-day entrance passes for a private vehicle
$25 seven-day entrance passes for a motorcycle or snowmobile
$15 seven-day entrance passes for an individual
Persons under age 16 are admitted free





Rekindle Your Love for Adventure




Trail Guides Yellowstone National Park Posters

Partnerships




Trail Guides Wyoming
Rekindle Your Love For Adventure

TRAIL GUIDES YELLOWSTONE
2149 Durston Road
Bozeman, Montana 59718
+1-406-595-1823
Contact Us


Order Your National Parks Pass

© 2011-2019 Trail Guides, LLC