Week of April 29, 2002
Grand Teton National Park Receives Reports of Spring Bear Activity - By National Park Service
GRAND TETON NATIONAL PARK, WY - Superintendent Steve Martin reminds local residents and visitors to be alert for bear activity within Grand Teton National Park and the John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Memorial Parkway. Reports of bears sightings and evidence of bear tracks, received this week, indicate that bears have emerged from their winter dens and are engaged in seasonal movements in search of food.
Appropriate precautions for traveling in bear country should be taken accordingly. When bears emerge from their winter dens, they begin to search for any food source that helps restore depleted fat reserves after hibernation. Winter-killed wildlife carcasses provide an immediate source of protein and are vigorously defended by hungry bears. Bears also dig up and eat burrowing rodents and the tubers of spring wildflowers. Female bears, accompanied by cubs, are especially protective of their young.Do not approach a bear under any circumstances. This is particularly important for situations involving bears with cubs or bears near a carcass. Visitors should report any bear sightings or signs, as soon as possible, to the nearest visitor center or ranger station. This timely information will assist park staff in keeping bears away from unnatural food sources. Access to human food habituates bears. Habituated animals often lose their fear of humans, which threatens the safety of both park visitors and the bears themselves.
2002 Seasonal Road Opening & Closing Schedule For Yellowstone National Park - By National Park Service
Spring weather is unpredictable; roads may be closed temporarily by snow or other weather conditions. Snow tires or chains may be required. Weather and snow conditions permitting, tentative road opening dates for vehicles are:
North Entrance to Silver Gate and Cooke City, Montana is open all year. Please note that this road is closed to east / west travel just east of Cooke City from late fall to early spring.
April 19, 2002
April 26, 2002
May 3, 2002
May 10, 2002
May 24, 2002
Lodging Facilities at Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks Selling Out Fast for Summer Season - By National Park Reservations
YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK, WY - As the summer season fast approaches, lodging inside Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks is beginning to sell out for many dates. Anyone planning to visit either national park this summer should make lodging reservations as soon as they know the dates that they will be in the park. Although the parks sell out every year, there are still some excellent lodging options available.
Yellowstone: Although the Old Faithful Inn is already sold out for most dates this summer, there are other outstanding options to choose from. Grant Village offers a peaceful and relatively secluded lodging experience next to Yellowstone Lake within close proximity to Old Faithful and Grand Teton National Park. Canyon Lodge offers another good lodging choice with cabins and lodge rooms located in the center of Yellowstone National Park near the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River. Canyon Lodge offers a very central location within the park and easy access to the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River, some of the most spectacular scenery in Yellowstone National Park. Finally, Lake Hotel and Lake Lodge (referred to as Lake Village) offer a quiet lodging experience on Yellowstone Lake. Although the scenery is beautiful, the area is much less crowded than Old Faithful. Click her for more information about lodging inside Yellowstone National Park.
Grand Teton: Lodging inside Grand Teton National Park is also quickly selling out for the summer season. Colter Bay Village offers cabins with a private bathroom at a central location within the park. Jackson Lake Lodge also offers a centralized location with rooms and cabins, although the rates are slightly higher than Colter Bay. Jenny Lake Lodge offers luxurious cabin lodging with nightly rates in excess of $400 per night. Finally, the Snake River Lodge and Signal Mountain Lodge offer comfortable Grand Teton lodging with average nightly rates. Another fine option for Grand Teton visitors is the community of Jackson, located just south of Grand Teton National Park. Jackson offers a wide assortment of activities and attractions including art galleries, museums, gift shops, fine dining, the National Elk Refuge, whitewater rafting, and much more. Click here for more information about Grand Teton National Park.
Public Scoping Begins on Ranger Station and Associated Facilities at Canyon - By National Park Service
YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK, WY - The National Park Service (NPS) proposes to construct buildings and associated facilities for the purpose of providing ranger offices, emergency service functions, equipment storage, and associated parking to serve the Canyon Village area of Yellowstone National Park. Located in the interior of the park, the Canyon area offers visitor use facilities that include restaurants seating approximately 550 people, a grocery store, various lodging units (1,226 beds), a 280-unit campground, a visitor center, a laundry and shower facility, a gas station, and a horse operation. The area also includes government and concession employee housing, and a maintenance facility. While the area receives an average of 23,000 visitors a day, peak summer days can be much higher. The Canyon ranger staff oversees visitor and resource protection, law enforcement, and emergency services over a 193,876-acre area of the park.
The present Canyon Ranger Station is located within the Canyon Visitor Center, which is scheduled to be remodeled/reconstructed in the fall of 2004. The remodeled visitor center will include the Canyon Backcountry Permit Office but will not accommodate the ranger operation offices and emergency equipment caches currently in the building.
The proposed new Canyon Ranger Station building would include space for offices, a public contact area, staff meeting room, and high-security storage for law enforcement equipment that will be displaced from the existing visitor center facility. Additionally, space would be needed for covered and heated storage space for a fire engine, ambulance, and emergency equipment, as well as a workshop. Associated public and employee parking and utilities would also be part of this project.
Issues that have been identified so far include resource impacts to bears, threatened and endangered species, cumulative habitat loss, visual concerns (including night lighting), and cultural resources (much of the area for visitor services is included within an historic district).
Various alternatives will be considered within the Canyon developed area. They will include a range of options that will facilitate visitor access and emergency response. Existing disturbed sites will be considered.
Vegetation Restoration Project to Take Place in Yellowstone National Park - By National Park Service
YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK, WY - Yellowstone National Park Superintendent Suzanne Lewis announced today that the park is scheduled to begin a project to restore native vegetation on the "triangle" area near the North Entrance. The project area is located between the Roosevelt Arch, the North Entrance, the Yellowstone Park Transportation Complex, and Park Street in Gardiner, Montana.
The area has a long history of human use. Throughout the years it has been used as a bus parking lot, a horse racetrack, an elk feeding ground, and an irrigated hay field. As a result of this disturbance, the eleven-acre area experienced a lack of native vegetation and a proliferation of exotic weeds, including Russian thistle-considered a nuisance and fire hazard. Four years ago, steps were taken to eradicate the weed population.
The triangle-shaped area has long been arid, dusty, barren, and flat, averaging only 10-12 inches of precipitation a year. A four-year drought has created unusually dry conditions to the area, resulting in little vegetation and no support of any new growth. In January 2002, the area experienced a major windstorm, creating visibility problems and moving much of the topsoil toward the Gardiner Transportation building and residences and the town of Gardiner.
Studies have been done on the area and short- and long-term solutions identified to mitigate the situation. Starting March 27, 2002, (weather permitting) and continuing through April, clean up of the deposited topsoil and erosion-control efforts will begin. Native indigenous seed will be hand sown and raked over the area, and shredded fir-cedar mulch will be lightly spread and watered to establish vegetation. Native shrubs will be transplanted into the area, and at least one culvert will be installed under the road between the Roosevelt Arch to the North Entrance road to try and reestablish the natural hydrology of the area. The area will be watered to help control erosion and promote growth. Isolated weed control will continue with hand pulling.
State of Montana and Yellowstone National Park Moving Forward With Interagency Bison Plan - By National Park Service
YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK, WY - At a meeting on Wednesday, March 13, 2002,
Governor Judy Martz and Yellowstone National Park Superintendent Suzanne Lewis
discussed a recent opinion from the Department of the Interior (DOI) Office of
the Solicitor regarding the authorities for employees of Yellowstone National
Park to assist all other agencies in the course of implementing the Interagency
Bison Management Plan.
In 2000, a long-term interagency bison management plan was agreed to, with two goals - 1) To maintain a wild, free-ranging population of bison and 2) address the risk of brucellosis transmission to protect the economic interest and viability of the livestock industry in the state of Montana. All parties are seriously committed to managing risk primarily through separation of bison and cattle in time and space. Yellowstone National Park has agreed to conduct a vaccination program that would, over time, reduce brucellosis in the Yellowstone bison population. The State of Montana has agreed to eventually allow a limited number of untested bison to use some public lands outside the park during winter, when no cattle graze in the vicinity.
"Clarification of National Park Service (NPS) authorities to conduct bison management activities outside the park provides the basis to cooperatively implement the Interagency Bison Management Plan and to achieve the common objectives of the State of Montana and Yellowstone National Park", said Superintendent Lewis.
The recent Office of the Solicitor opinion clearly states that NPS employees do have resource management authority to assist the State of Montana in bison management activities outside the park, both in emergency and non-emergency situations under the auspices of the Interagency Bison Management Plan. The types of activities covered by this authority include riding horses and snowmobiles to haze bison into the park; assisting with the holding and testing of bison for disease at the state-operated capture facilities; meeting with the press or members of the public to provide information; lethally removing bison; and providing leadership and incident command expertise for bison management operations.
"The DOI Solicitor's opinion confirms the National Park Service's authority to implement and participate in management actions contained in the Record of Decision. I look forward to all agencies working together to continue in the implementation of the management plan," said Governor Martz.
Yellowstone Offers Online Bear Field Trip for Students - By National Park Service
YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK, WY - Yellowstone National Park announces the fourth of five free electronic field trips, The Bears of Yellowstone, to begin at 11 a.m. MST on April 10, 2002. While the series of online field trips targets middle school students, it offers a wealth of resource information to all virtual park visitors. Educators and others may register for the online field trips by logging on to www.windowsintowonderland.org.
This electronic field trip will teach students how to distinguish between grizzly and black bears and will explore the life and habits of these animals. The field trip will encourage students to practice safety in bear country as it recounts stories of conflict between people and bears in Yellowstone and explains the evolution of the park's management of bears.
The 30-minute field trip features digital images, five lesson plans designed to enhance the online experience, and a student question and answer message board. Immediately following Wednesday's broadcast, the message board will open and remain open through Friday, April 12, 2002. Park experts will respond to all posted bear-related questions.
The series of electronic field trips establishes a connection between the classroom and a national park experience and links the students' home communities to Yellowstone National Park. Tens of thousands of students from 49 states and 11 foreign countries have registered for the field trips, and park employees have responded to approximately 150 questions on each field trip. The three previous online trips focused on the early human history of Yellowstone, wildland fire in Yellowstone, and wolf natural history and reintroduction in Yellowstone. These trips can still be viewed, along with questions from students and answers from park experts. Later this spring, the Buffalo Bill Historical Center will produce the final electronic field trip for this school year highlighting the influence of art in the preservation of our national treasures.
This project is the result of an educational grant from Parks as Classrooms and a cooperative partnership with the Buffalo Bill Historical Center in Cody, Wyoming. Parks as Classrooms is a nationwide program that invites students and educators to learn about our National Parks through park visits, educational material, and classroom activities.
To obtain further information concerning Yellowstone National Park's electronic field trips, log on to the web site www.windowsintowonderland.org.
YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK, WY - Yellowstone National Park Superintendent Suzanne Lewis asks spring visitors to be alert for signs of bear activity in the park. The Bear Management Office has started receiving reports of bear activity in several areas within Yellowstone, indicating that bears are beginning to emerge from their winter dens.
Soon after bears emerge from their dens they search for winter-killed wildlife and winter-weakened elk and bison, the primary sources of much needed food during spring for both grizzlies and black bears. Visitors are asked to be especially cautious of wildlife carcasses that may attract bears, and to take the necessary precautions to avoid an encounter. Do not approach a bear under any circumstances. An encounter with a bear feeding on a carcass increases the risk of personal injury. Bears will aggressively defend a food source, especially when surprised.
If precautionary measures fail and a bear charges, behavioral reactions can be used to defuse the situation in most cases. Bear pepper spray is a good last line of defense that has been effective in most of the reported cases where it has been used.
Bear spray is effective only at short distances (10-30 feet), and is adversely affected by wind, cold temperatures, and the age of the product. Take time to become familiar with your bear spray, the safety trigger, and holster. Carefully read the instructions and be aware of its limitations. If you decide to carry pepper spray, it must be immediately available, not in your pack. Remember that carrying pepper spray is not a substitute for vigilance and good safety precautions.
Some news stories have suggested that bear pepper spray is a bear attractant. These stories have arisen from the misuse of the product -- applying it to people, tents, packs, or other equipment. Bear pepper spray is not designed to be applied as a repellent, but is designed to spray at a charging or attacking bear. Bear spray has been a highly effective deterrent when used in this manner.
The National Park Service is continuing the seasonal "Bear Management Area" closures in Yellowstone's backcountry. The program regulates human entry in specific areas to prevent human/bear conflicts and to provide areas where bears can range free from human disturbances.
The purpose of the Yellowstone National Park bear management policy is to ensure a natural and free-ranging population of black and grizzly bears. One important aspect of the management program is the separation of bears from unnatural food sources. Human foods are one of the chief culprits in the creation of problem bears. The bears' conditioning to groceries, garbage or intentional feeding, and habituation to people may lead to their causing human injury and property damage and occasionally require their destruction. Visitors are reminded to keep food, garbage, barbecue grills, and other attractants stored inside or otherwise unavailable to bears.
Superintendent Lewis states that park staff, along with other local, state, and federal agencies in the Greater Yellowstone Area constantly strive to protect the bear population through public education, enforcement of regulations for proper food and garbage handling, the relocation of problem bears, and seasonal human use closures.
Visitors are asked to report any sightings or signs of bears to the nearest visitor center or ranger station as soon as possible. Permits for backcountry camping and information on day hikes are available at visitor centers and ranger stations.
West Yellowstone Offers An Invigorating Mix - By West Yellowstone Chamber of Commerce
YELLOWSTONE, MT - It should come as no surprise that a world-renown attraction,
with its exploding geysers and gurgling mud pots, was once called
"hell" by fur trappers, and "smoking waters" by local Indian
tribes. Yellowstone National Park has made its mark due to its unusual
attractions and uncompromised surroundings, which are only a small portion of
the area’s wonders. The West Yellowstone region, including Island Park
and the Madison River Canyon, is an invigorating mix of modern conservation,
sporting adventure and friendly merchants.
Safety in Bear Country - By National Park Service
YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK, WY - Hiking and camping restrictions are occasionally in effect as a result of bear activity. Never camp in an area that has obvious evidence of bear activity such as digging, tracks, or scat. Odors attract bears, so avoid carrying or cooking odorous foods. Keep a clean camp; do not cook or store food in your tent. All food, garbage, or other odorous items used for preparing or cooking food must be secured from bears. Most backcountry campsites have food poles from which all food, cooking gear, and scented articles must be suspended when not being used. Treat all odorous products such as soap, deodorant, or other toiletries in the same manner as food. Do not leave packs containing food unattended, even for a few minutes. Allowing a bear to obtain human food even once often results in the bear becoming aggressive about obtaining such food in the future. Aggressive bears present a threat to human safety and eventually must be destroyed or removed from the park. Please obey the law and do not allow bears or other wildlife to obtain human food.
Sleep a minimum of 100 yards (91 meters) from where you hang, cook, and eat your food. Keep your sleeping gear clean and free of food odor. Don't sleep in the same clothes worn while cooking and eating; hang clothing worn while cooking and eating in plastic bags.
Considering bears' highly developed sense of smell, it may seem logical that they could be attracted to odors associated with menstruation. Studies on this subject are few and inconclusive. If a woman chooses to hike or camp in bear country during menstruation, a basic precaution should be to wear internal tampons, not external pads. Used tampons should be double-bagged in a zip-lock type bag and stored the same as garbage.
If you are involved in a conflict with a bear, regardless of how minor, report it to a park ranger as soon as possible. Another's safety may depend on it. Exceptional combinations of food, shelter, and space draw grizzlies to some parts of Yellowstone more than others. In these Bear Management Areas, human access is restricted to reduce impacts on the bears and their habitat. Ask at ranger stations or visitor centers for more information. Certain areas of Yellowstone are treated as bear management areas. Click here to view the bear management areas!
Yellowstone Weather - provided by The Weather Channel.