Keep A Safe Distance When Viewing Yellowstone Wildlife

August 30, 2014 in Featured

The sound of bugling elk in the crisp morning air signals the beginning of fall and the presence of large mammals in the lower elevations of Yellowstone.

The fall season bull elk rutting activity has begun. Bulls are much more aggressive toward both people and vehicles this time of year and can be a threat to individuals and property. Several vehicles are damaged by elk every year and occasionally people are charged by elk and can be injured. Visitors and residents are asked to use caution when walking near elk and to look around corners before exiting buildings or walking around blind spots.

A dedicated group of park staff and volunteers can be seen patrolling areas like Mammoth Hot Springs when elk are present in an attempt to keep elk and visitors a safe distance away from each other. Park regulations require visitors to stay a minimum of 25 yards – the length of two regular school buses – away from most large animals and a minimum of 100 yards – the length of a football field – away from bears and wolves at all times.

Area residents are reminded that during this period, it is not uncommon for bull elk to mock fight with many types of household items found in resident’s yards. As a consequence, bull elk often get household items wrapped around their antlers. This can result in bull elk getting tied to each other, or to brush, trees, or other objects which can ultimately lead to their death. Over the last few years, bull elk have had to be captured to remove extension cords, cloths lines, shrubbery baskets, leashes, wire, nets, cloth bags, swings, hammocks, coaxial cable, and badminton nets (complete with poles) from their antlers. During the fall rut, residents are asked to make an effort to remove all such items from their yards when not in use.

www.nps.gov/yell -

Yellowstone Volcano Observatory

August 10, 2014 in Featured

074-02-002A Short Statement Regarding Recent Rumors
August 08, 2014

Though we love doing research at YVO, we prefer it when the research is on topics geological rather than the origin of false rumors. Nevertheless, we have received enough concerned emails and phone calls that we’ve spent some time tracking down a few of the statements made on various “alternative Internet news sources.”

1) First, everyone should know that geological activity, including earthquakes and ground uplift/subsidence is well within historical norms and seismicity is actually a bit low at present.

2) Concern over road closures is much overblown. There’s been one road closure of a small side road – just over three miles long – that was closed for two days. As one can imagine, it is not easy to maintain roads that pass over thermal areas where ground temperatures can approach those of boiling water. Roads at Yellowstone often need repair because of damage by thermal features as well as extreme cold winter conditions.

3) The park has not been evacuated. This one is pretty easy to verify by everyone. If the Old Faithful webcam shows people, or if news articles are coming out about a hobbyist’s remote control helicopter crashing into a hot spring, Yellowstone is certainly open for business.

4) No volcanologists have stated that Yellowstone is likely to erupt this week, this month or this year. In one recent article, a name was attributed to a “senior volcanologist”, but that person does not appear to exist, and a geologist with that name assures us that he did not supply any quotes regarding Yellowstone.

5) Finally, we note that those who’ve kept track of Yellowstone over the past decade or so, have seen a constant stream of “predictions” regarding imminent eruptions at Yellowstone. Many have had specific dates in mind, none had a scientific basis, and none have come true.

We will continue to provide updates on geological activity at Yellowstone, and educational materials to help understand the science around Yellowstone monitoring.

Virtually everything known about Yellowstone’s spectacular volcanic past comes from the scientists who work at this observatory, at all our eight member agencies. We’re the ones who mapped the deposits, figured out the ages of the eruptions, measured the gases, located the earthquakes, and tracked the ground movement. A few of us have been doing it for over forty years. We will continue to help you understand what’s happening at Yellowstone now, and what’s likely to happen in the future.

U.S. Geological Survey

Firehole Lake Drive Temporarily Closed

July 10, 2014 in Featured

074-05-008Firehole Lake Drive in Yellowstone National Park has been temporarily closed due to a damaged road surface.

Extreme heat from surrounding thermal areas has caused thick oil to bubble to the surface, damaging the blacktop and creating unsafe driving conditions on the popular, scenic road, located off the Grand Loop Road halfway between Old Faithful and Madison Junction in the park’s Lower Geyser Basin.

The 3.3-mile loop drive takes visitors past Great Fountain Geyser, White Dome Geyser and Firehole Lake.

The road will remain closed for the next several days while maintenance crews make repairs. The date for reopening the road is uncertain at this time, and will be determined after crews assess the effectiveness of their efforts.

Updated Yellowstone National Park road information is available 24 hours a day by calling 307-344-2117 or visit http://www.nps.gov/yell/planyourvisit/roadclosures.htm.

Original Story

Grizzly Bear Study Team Research Begins In Yellowstone

June 21, 2014 in Featured

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YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK NEWS RELEASE
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grizBiologists with the Interagency Grizzly Bear Study Team (IGBST) and Yellowstone National Park will be conducting scientific grizzly bear and black bear research operations in Yellowstone National Park from June 24 through October 31, as part of the ongoing monitoring of the activities and population of grizzly bears within the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.

Team members will bait and trap bears at several remote sites within Yellowstone National Park. Once trapped, the bears are anesthetized to allow wildlife biologists to radio-collar and collect scientific samples for study. All trapping and handling are done in accordance with IGBST’s long-established protocols.

None of the trap sites in the park will be located near any established hiking trails or backcountry campsites, and all trap 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 the protected bears is part of a long-term research effort required under the Endangered Species Act to help wildlife managers devise and implement programs to support the ongoing recovery of Yellowstone’s grizzly bear population.

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.

http://www.nps.gov/yell/parknews/14041.htm

Roads Open Friday

April 18, 2014 in Featured

Roads from West Yellowstone and Mammoth Hot Springs to Old Faithful and Canyon Open Friday

For the first time since fall, visitors to Yellowstone National Park will be able to drive to see Old Faithful and the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone starting Friday morning, April 18. The road segments from West Yellowstone and Mammoth Hot Springs to these popular visitor destinations open for the season at 8:00 a.m.

13784611423_f7c5f75626_mEach spring, Yellowstone National Park plow crews clear snow and ice from 198 miles of main road, 124 miles of secondary roads and 125 acres of parking lots inside the park as well as 31 miles of the Beartooth Highway outside the park’s Northeast Entrance to prepare for the summer season.

Additional road segments in the park will open during May as road clearing operations progress. Yellowstone’s East Entrance is scheduled to open to travel on Friday, May 2. The park’s South Entrance is set to open to the public on Friday, May 9. The road from the park’s North Entrance at Gardiner, Mont., through Mammoth Hot Springs to the Northeast Entrance, Silver Gate and Cooke City, Mont., is open all year. The road east of Cooke City to WY-296 typically opens by mid-May. Crews from the National Park Service and the Montana Department of Transportation strive to open US-212 over the Beartooth Pass to Red Lodge, Mont., in time for the Memorial Day holiday weekend.

As an added incentive for spring visitors, park entrance fees will be waived April 19 and 20 to kick off National Park Week. A seven-day pass to Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks is normally $25 for a private, non-commercial vehicle.

Visitors should be aware that spring in Yellowstone is very unpredictable and often brings cold temperatures, high winds and falling snow. Even cleared sections of roads can be narrow and covered with a layer of snow, ice and debris. Visitors should use extreme caution when driving as road clearing operations can be ongoing at any time throughout the park. In the case of extreme weather conditions, temporary road closures are also possible with little or no advance warning.

Due to the snow present in the park’s interior, walking on trails or on boardwalks through thermal areas may also be difficult or impossible for some time. Bears have emerged from hibernation in the Greater Yellowstone Area and are on the hunt for food. If you plan to hike, ski or snowshoe in the park you are advised to stay in groups of three of more, make noise on the trail and carry bear spray. 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.

Very limited visitor services will be available during the next several weeks. For updated information, go to http://www.nps.gov/yell/planyourvisit/index.htm or consult the park newspaper you receive at the entrance station.

Construction is underway north of the entrance to the Norris Campground on the road to Mammoth Hot Springs. A 5.4 mile section of the road is being rebuilt, as is the bridge over the Gardner River. Visitors should expect daytime delays of up to 30 minutes, with nightly closures between 11:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. beginning June 1. This section of road will be closed to all traffic from 11:00 p.m. September 14, to 7:00 a.m. on September 30.

Work will also begin this year to replace the Isa Lake Bridge, which is on the road between Old Faithful and West Thumb Junction. This section of road will close to through travel for the season at 6:00 a.m. on September 2.

Details on both of these projects and updated Yellowstone National Park road information is available 24 hours a day by calling 307-344-2117, or on the Web at http://www.nps.gov/yell/planyourvisit/roadclosures.htm.

- www.nps.gov/yell -

Yellowstone Opens West Side Roads For Spring Bicycle Season

March 28, 2014 in Featured

8632209418_a25c7522cd_bBicyclists willing to brave the often unpredictable elements of spring in Yellowstone National Park will be able to travel 49 miles of park roads from the West Entrance at West Yellowstone, Mont., to Mammoth Hot Springs beginning at 8:00 a.m. Thursday, March 27.

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 18.

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. Bears, bison, elk, wolves and other wildlife could be encountered at any time. No services are available along these sections of road, and 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 are required to ride single file and follow all other rules of the road. They are strongly encouraged to carry bear spray, should be prepared to turn around and backtrack when encountering wildlife on the road, and must stay out of closed areas.

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. Cell phone coverage throughout the park is sparse and unreliable for communicating emergencies.

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 307-344-2107 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. Additional planning information is also available online at http://www.nps.gov/yell/planyourvisit/springbike.htm.

Updated Yellowstone National Park road information is available 24 hours a day by calling 307-344-2117.

http://www.nps.gov/yell/parknews/14014.htm