Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Yellowstone Fundraising To Be Gentle

Rewards To Be Curtailed
pat on the back is ok

-- The National Park Service has issued new guidelines for fundraising in & by our parks. The directions are first directed toward Yosemite & it's enormous donor population. It is anticipated that the guidelines will also apply to Yellowstone National Park.
-- The original guidelines were objected to by too many sources. In an article released by the Merced Sun-Star the details of the new guidelines are spelled out.
-- There shall be no taking money from liquor or tobacco companies. There shall be no large billboards. There shall be no direct solicitation of funds. The National Park Service has modified some of it's original ideas about fund raising.
-- A number of the more controversial proposals have been dropped or modified after more than 1,000 public comments were reviewed. "The time was not right for a number of those provisions." John Piltzecker, director of the National Park Service's Partnership Program, said Tuesday.
-- Withdrawn were provisions for display plaques, and the naming of park features for donors. We don't anticipate seeing "Old Faithful - Brought to you by Connoco" signs any time soon. Nor will "The Grand Canyon - sponsored by Wal-Mart" be seen.
-- Based on Piltzecker's comments, however, the time may be right in the future. With the continuing drop in park budgets there is going to be a renewed effort to seek alternative sources of funding. The Yellowstone Association has given money for projects, and other funding sources will have to be developed.
-- Money laundering and funds hedging for tax purposes is a major concern of the public trust. Interestingly, private donors are worried that there may be background checks prior to acceptance of funds - why should this worry them?

Read More

Even More

still more

a bit more

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Yellowstone Air Quality Declining

It's Not Just Snowmobiles
park busses contribute too
so do motor homes
-- In an article just released by the Star Tribune in Casper, Wyoming, is a report of declining air quality in Yellowstone National Park. In an unannounced finding, The National Park Service published the data on an obscure web site. The brief report can be found on another page with a map, (see below!).
-- National Parks on the west coast and in the eastern part of the United States show an improving trend, while those in the mountain west show declining trends. Part of the problem is state and local trends that either encourage energy development, or do not. Air pollution is on the front burner both in the east and the coastal west, but the mountain states seem to take clean air for granted.
-- In addition to the 129, or so, coal fired energy plants currently in some state of development; more large vehicles are visiting Yellowstone and other western parks. The diesel busses, (some owned by Yellowstone,) large motor homes, mobile campers, and visitation increases, all contribute to the problem.
-- The Star Tribune notes that: "Environmental Defense and three other groups have sued the federal government in U.S. District Court to try to force air quality improvement changes in the Powder River Basin in Wyoming and Montana. The U.S. Bureau of Land Management has authorized 33 million acres of new oil and gas development there, with as many as 165,000 new coal-bed methane wells, despite testimony from other federal and state agencies that the project would lead to serious air pollution at Yellowstone, Grand Teton, Theodore Roosevelt, Wind Cave and other parks."
-- The combination of no serious effort by Yellowstone to regulate giant tour busses, and the lack of commitment by the NPS to establish air quality standards, (and enforcement,) does not bode well for the visitor in the future.
-- If Yellowstone were as serious about busses, motor homes, and campers, as they are about snowmobiles, the park would be a better place for all concerned.







Monday, May 29, 2006


budgets in Yellowstone are down

Elk Play Golf In Estes Park

The Summer always brings forth news about the National Parks: Here are the most read stories this week.

-- Yesterday's Citizen Times, from Ashevillele, North Carolina, ran an interesting article about the changes to the Interior Department since 2001. Although general in nature the article accurately describes the situation in Yellowstone National Park.
-- The article, written by a retired National Park Ranger, who was also an assistant park superintendent, contends that threats to the very existence of the NPS exist. It suggests that the NPS is being turned over to corporate puppets. As examples the article cites the following:

* NPS sets policy reducing ability to have air pollution controls in National Parks.

* NPS overrides two decades of scientific study to allow the reintroduction of snowmobiles in Yellowstone National Park.

* NPS proposed policy that would permit advertising in National Parks.

* NPS began outsourcing of public protection jobs (lifeguards) at seashores.

* NPS rewrote policies and directives that once put protection of resources first, so that protection and use would be equal. This paved the way for more "wreckreational" use by motorized vehicles.

* The [current] administration's leadership introduced legislation to sell off 10 national park areas.

-- It further contends that:
* "The administration has gutted the Clean Water Act, has crippled laws that were designed to reduce air pollution, and is moving rapidly toward dire changes in the Endangered Species Act that destroy its effectiveness. The administration is pushing current efforts to open up the wilderness Arctic Refuge to oil interests."
-- The author of the article is a member of the newly minted, The Coalition of National Park Service Retirees, and deserves a complete hearing.


-- Also, in another headline, the NPS is having an elk problem in more places than just Yellowstone National Park. The Elk in Rocky Mountain National Park Have Invaded Estes Park, Colorado and are now endangering the lives of the citizens there. The city manager wants his elk, and his golf course. This is about the same situation as obtains in Yellowstone at Mammoth, and in Gardiner.


& More

-- We anticipate more headlines along these lines as the election cycle brings us closer to voting. Keep your dial set here.

Saturday, May 27, 2006


Check Out His Idaho Record;
new gold mine in yellowstone?

-- Until today the national press has been silent on the proceedings to confirm Idaho Governor Dirk Kempthorne as secretary of the Interior. The AP finally discovered this action that has been sailing smoothly under the radar. On the other hand, bloggers have been steadfast in their tracking of the proceedings.
-- A quick search shows many concerns about this appointment were noted in bloggs about our national parks, our other public lands, our energy policy, and the condition of the environment. The record of Dirk Kempthorne is transparent, and public. From his desire to remove wolves from Idaho to his blatant sexual escapades the new secretary has been open and forthcoming.

-- This is a case where the American People are getting a known entity. There has been no deception here. You get what you pay for.
-- This crony of President G.W. Bush will continue the administration policies in all these areas, and will certainly enable the pending changes made by his predecessor, Gale Norton.
-- The National Park Service can look forward to: more budget cuts, fewer staff positions, less security, and more commercialism. There should be no whining from visitors in their giant motor homes when they discover that there are no interpretive rangers at their favorite parks.
-- There should be no surprise when views and vistas are interrupted by giant signs on park busses and buildings. There should be no gasping and wringing of hands when oil exploration, coal leasing, or right-of-way corridors infringe on buffer zones to our parks. This appointment and confirmation took place in the open and with little resistance from anyone.
-- This will be the man in charge of: The National Park Service, The Office Of Surface Mining, The Bureau Of Reclamation, The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, The Minerals Management Service, The U.S. Geological Service, The Bureau Of Indian Affairs, and the Bureau of Land Management - - - that's about 1/5 of the land area of the United States Of America!
-- As noted on the DOI home page:

"The Department of the Interior, comprising the eight bureaus listed above:
Manages 1 out of every 5 acres of land in the US.
Provides the resources for nearly one-third of the Nation's energy.
Works with 561 federally recognized Indian Tribes.
Administers U.S. responsibility to four overseas Territories.
Provides water to 31 million citizens through 820 dams and reservoirs.
Receives 500 million visits each year to 388 national parks, 537 wildlife refuges and vast areas of multiple use lands.
Provides opportunities for hunters and anglers, working to improve habitat on millions of acres of public and private lands."

Read More:
Official Biography
Blog Search
Early Warning
Kempthorne Quotes
Current Bloggs
Hometown Buzz

Friday, May 26, 2006



--Memorial Day Weekend is a time for remembrance. On our visit this Friday we stopped at the grave of Mattie Culver. It reminds us of the life, (and death,) of the early pioneers in Yellowstone National Park.
-- Mattie was the consumptive wife of a loving husband who brought her west in the hope that the 'air' would help her condition. She had lived the hard life of a child laborer in a textile mill in New England and died the wife of a 'winter keeper' in Yellowstone.
-- Mattie died in 1889, at the age of 32, and was buried at a peaceful site on the peninsula between the Firehole River and Nez Perce Creek. Local folks make a spring pilgrimage to the site and leave a single wildflower on her grave.
-- Mattie would would be only a gravestone, (with an incorrect age,) were she not discovered by Nan Weber. Nan Weber has spent countless hours in her pursuit of the historical Martha "Mattie" Shipley Culver. Her Book "Mattie A Woman's Journey West" has developed both a local and international following. The book is a sympathetic treatment of a most troubling life story. We take this space to remember both Mattie & Nan. They shall always be linked to Yellowstone.
Mattie's Home Page
Nan's Home Page
Local News Article

Thursday, May 25, 2006


· It appears that opening day will bring cool overcast and thundershowers, and rain. The wind will be moderate, (SW @ 5—15 mph,) and temperatures in the 50’s. PERFECT! The cooling trend promises to hold and the rivers should continue to slow. Fishing conditions will allow access to most popular locations & the Firehole will probably hold the best promise of success.
· Generalized nymphs, (large and dark,) and a good supply of caddis imitations will be required. There should also be a some stone fly nymphs in your fly box. For those brief periods of sunlight it would be good to have some nymphs with yellow or light green. Of course a double fist-full of prince nymphs is always necessary.

These are the flies we will be carrying:





Guides Permitted To Operate In Yellowstone
Yellowstone Fishing Regulations (PDF)

Current Weather:
Click for West Yellowstone, Montana Forecast

Wednesday, May 24, 2006


-- Memorial day is the traditional 'opening' of the summer season in Yellowstone National Park. For Yellowstone it is a significant event. The war years saw park attendance drop, funds disappear, and staff leave for the war effort.
-- Even before the entrance into WWII by the United States of America, Yellowstone was affected. WPA projects are still visible in some rock works, CCC work is still a factor in some trails and other features.
-- After the war, America took to travel and Yellowstone was a destination on many lists of things to do. Our population sought to rediscover the nation in a spirit of nationalism that has not been seen since. Automobile sales exploded. The railroads took Yellowstone off their prime-destination list. Visitation by automobile travelers in the post war era shaped the park and it's plan. It is with us even today.
-- One product of the post war era is 'the baby boom.' Boomers are the single largest group of visitors to Yellowstone today. They have differnt modes of transportation: the motor-home, (with automobile in tow,) is a significant element in park visitation. As these visitors arrive they should pause and reflect on the changes wrought on Yellowstone by WWII. Ask a park ranger to point out the remaining "old" construction from this period.
-- The park roads will be crowded, the lines will be long, the buffalo jams will be horrific, and travel will be slow. Don't worry, these can be times for contemplation & reflection. And, remember that many died to preserve our freedom to visit Yellowstone National Park.

Memorial Day Site
Yellowstone Park
National Park Service

Tomb of Unknown Soldier photo by Terry Buckwalter, © 1993 Smithsonian Institution.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006


Unknown Critter Killing Sheep
more hunting of bison?
rivers out of banks

-- In a flurry of news releases, Spring in Yellowstone country has burst upon the national psyche. It's as if nothing happens during the Winter - then - POW!

--It's A What?
--Sheep are being killed by something,
-- Ranchers want to know what!
-- Wolf? Dog? Hybrid?
-- Creature under investigation,
-- Shoot to kill permits issued.
Read More:
USA Today

-- Bison Management News!
-- 899 sent to slaughter this past winter.
-- Montana Governor calls for "better" plan.
Read More:
Great Falls Tribune
independent Record
KPVI-TV Pocatello

-- Bison Hunting News:
-- More permits suggested,
-- Who owns the bison?
Read More:
St. George Spectrum
Helena Independent Record

-- Rapid Warming Causing Floods:
-- Area Rivers Continue Rising,
-- Livingston Threatened,
-- Weather Service extends Warning.
Read More:
Great Falls Tribune
Montana Standard
KPVI-Radio Billings
Bozeman Daily Chronicle

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Rockin' Yellowstone

Earthquake climbs to 3.8
just about enough to feel

-- The first reported earthquake of the season has been noted by the press and triggered a response from officials at Yellowstone National Park. We use this opportunity to point out the link to the USGS earthquake site, (4.0 & above,) in the sidebar, and the Yellowstone Volcano Observatory, (all documented quakes,) link next to it. We've listed them below this one time also.
-- Swarms are fun to know about but remember that these are historic not predictive indicators -- yet!

Yellowstone Volcano Observatory

Friday, May 19, 2006


be well prepared with car games

-- Summer is off to a good start in Yellowstone National Park. The buffalo are ruling the roads along the Madison River and the Firehole River.
-- The construction at Old Faithful has reduced parking spaces, and the amount of debris from demolition is not very well confined or hidden.
-- The "old visitor center" is abandoned and awaiting demolition, leaving the area without the usual restroom facilities. The temporary visitor center is 'in place' - as it were - with folding chairs and a large screen TV. Plan to find a certain amount of chaos at Old Faithful if you visit this summer.
-- Those of you with a sense of history will be able to take some photographs of "historic" proportions since the National Park Service is notoriously bad at documentation. Save your pictures for the inevitable request for pictures that they will issue.

-- Be considerate in the buffalo jams. Don't stampede the big critters, drive through the herd with caution and do not stop unless absolutely necessary.
-- If the bison are moving in the same direction as you are - drive through them and then park. You will get better pictures. If the bison are coming toward you - pull over and park. You will get better pictures.
-- Be a bit sensible about where you park. The traffic laws in Yellowstone are not suspended just because you need a picture. You can be fined for blocking the road even if there is a herd of buffalo there too!

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Yellowstone Artillery Shell A Dud

Sylvan Pass Temporarily Closed
avalanches not expected this summer

-- An artillery shell discovered Monday closed Sylvan Pass, and stopped construction on the road in Yellowstone National Park, while a team from Malmstrom Air Force Base in Great Falls, Mont., was called to remove and detonate the shell. The pass re-opened for travel yesterday at about 10:30 AM.
-- The shell was discovered by a member of the construction crew working on the new road alignment.
-- The artillery shell is one of about 300 known duds in Yellowstone that are used to control avalanches. Of the known duds, about 10% could could detonate spontaneously, without any warning.
-- It is not anticipated that any avalanches will occure this summer, and the construction on the road should continue on schedual.

-- Yellowstone has posted the construction schedual for the road - including the planned delays on it's web site. A complete detail is available in PDF format HERE.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Yellowstone's Wolverines Being Followed


<--nps photo

-- During the cold winter months, when their large claws and furry feet allowed them to catch their prey, some of Yellowstone's wolverines were trapped and fitted with radio collars, and implanted with microchips. The research team now has it's work cut out for them; they must follow and observe this creature in it's wide ranging travels. This largest weasel can weigh 35 pounds, take down and elk, and defend it's kill from a grizzly bear. The cougar, grizzly bear and wolverine are the top predators in Yellowstone. The wolverines are rare and the most secretive of the three.
-- Now that the Yellowstone wolverines are wearing radio transmitters the real work begins. Both for the research team, and the male wolverine. As the kitts mature the mother turns over parenting chores to the father and hunting and scavenging skills are imparted to the young.

-- Because of their secretive nature and wide ranging travels very little is known about this creature. Most of our information comes from hunter's tales and folk lore. The reputation for fierceness is legend, and needs documentation, as does the population size. So little is known about this creature that, at present, it's hard to know if the population is nearly extinct or not.
-- This important study is underway now, and will continue for the next several years, (until 2009.) Results will be published here as they become available.

Read more.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Yellowstone Brucellosis Policies Suspect

or, is it montana?
-- The question that sensible citizens are asking is: "why is it that we harass bison and not elk; since elk carry brucellosis and have infected domestic livestock, while bison carry brucellosis and have not been shown to infect any livestock?"
-- The elk in the picture is too thin. The elk in the picture is denuding Yellowstone National Park. The elk in the picture is sacred to Montana citizens because it draws hunters to the state and the hunters bring money. The elk is allowed to roam and carry brucellosis where ever it chooses. Neither Yellowstone, nor Montana, nor Idaho, nor Wyoming care to address the problem of the sacred cows. there are more than 3,500 elk in the northern herd, alone. There are so many that Yellowstone Park officials can't count all of them!
-- The bison in the picture is part of a herd that was artificially produced and partially domesticated at 'Buffalo Ranch' in the Lamar valley. There are about 4,000 of them this year. They too are eating Yellowstone to death.
-- Montana's Governor Schweitzer wants to buy more grazing allotment s to allow the bison room to roam. Many well meaning activists pretend that the Yellowstone bison herd is a natural phenomenon and that the bison are wild. They see the bison as more important than elk, and they indulge themselves in the pretense that this artificially produced group of ungulants is somehow special.
-- There is very little consistency in the management policies of these two herds of animals. It's time for an informed public to act. The policies for management should not be misinformed by the economic value of the elk; nor should they be misinformed by romanticised versions of an artificially produced - genetically mixed - herd of bison. The policies should be informed by the need to manage not the animals, but the habitat. That job will require better minds than Yellowstone has been willing to pay for in the past.


Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Yellowstone To Restore Westslope Cutthroat

Yellowstone Biologists To Propagate Species
Hope Springs Eternal

Westslope Cutthroat

<-nps photo

== The Westslope Cutthroat Trout is one of the very first immigrants in North America. Over 60,000,000 years ago; before there were Rocky Mountains, before there was a Yellowstone Park, before the Snake River dumped it's water into the Pacific Ocean near current day San Francisco, and even before there was an aggregation of oophiolites on the west coast of our current continent - the ancestral cutthroats began moving into the interior of the new continent.
== These early salmonids populated all of the west of what we call North America. Only a few strains of these early genes are left to us: the Golden Trout of Yosemite is a remnant of these early migrants. The Palomar Trout near San Diego is also a relic of very early times. The trout of the Sierra Madre in western Mexico still survive. And the West Slope Cuttthroat is with us as well! The early populations of these species colonized the continent, and gave rise to the other inland trout that we know and love.
== These fish are the remnants of a hearty group of pioneer species that have provided us with great pleasure and enjoyment. They deserve our consideration and help. They are certainly to be cherished as part of our heritage - far more than later arrivals and certainly far more than imports. These fish are priceless.
== From a small group of recently discovered, pure-strain fish, the fisheries managers in Yellowstone intend to establish a pure breeding population to preserve this species. This is good news. The stories are better told by the sources below.
Bozeman Chronicle
Billings Gazette
Fly Fishing In Yellowstone
A Park For All Seasons
Yellowstone Park
Public Comment

Sunday, May 07, 2006


The Whole Shooting Match
Check Grotto's Marathon's

Giant Geyser
<-- Haynes Photo

<--nps photo

Giant Geyser
<-nps photo

-- All winter it was such a crowd pleaser to have Giant Geyser erupting on a nearly regular schedule. This seems to be continuing so far in May as well. Grotto Geyser & Giant Geyser in Yellowstone National Park generally slow down in the summer because they are sensitive to near-surface groundwater for their recharge cycles.
--Grotto Geyser just finished a 19 hour marathon session on Friday, May 5, 2,006, and then, late last night (at 10:20 PM) Giant produced a show for about a dozen of the faithful gazers who were on hand to see the show. It lasted for about an hour and may have been 90' in the air. That's a lot of water!
-- For those of you interested in the science behind eruptions and their variability in winter & Summer & Spring & Fall here are two papers that may help:
1,)Groundwater impacts of liquid-dominated geothermal systems with overlying vapor caps , Goff, F. In: Eos, Transactions, American Geophysical Union, November 10, 1998, Vol. 79, Issue 45, Suppl., pp.323
2,)Monitoring of thermal activity in southwestern Yellowstone National Park and vicinity, 1980-1993 , Friedman, Irving In: U. S. Geological Survey Bulletin, 1993.
-- The most appealing explanation is that high cold water tables dampen the heat build-up from the geyser system and slow down the eruption cycle. Right now the interactive Giant Geyser Group is very active - but the eruption period is slowing down.
-- Currently Giant Geyser is on a 7 - 14 day cycle. Other geysers respond to shifting levels of ground water variously. The ones with a lot of heat seem to need the ground water for eruptions: which is on the other end of the "cause-effect" spectrum.
--Whatever the case, now is a good time to see Giant Geyser in Yellowstone National Park.

Grotto Geyser In Marathon
<-nps photo

Yellowstone Park News
YNP Official Site
A Park For All Seasons

Saturday, May 06, 2006


NASA Sees It Differently

<--nasa photo

<--nasa photo

-- There are wonders to behold in a different view of Yellowstone National Park. The sites are informative and the photography is interesting. Dowloads with credit are encouraged.
Check out the sites below for an excellent view of some geysers in the infrared spectrum.
NASA Info Page

Cal Tech Cool Cosmos Page

Yellowstone Geyser Gallery


Thursday, May 04, 2006



Yellowstone and cell phones
go together
like oil and water,
or, like Bush & Cheaney,
or like lies and thieves,
or like rangers and robbers,
or like dead trees & fire,
or like bums & beggers!!

Yellowstone seeks revenue in strange ways. Now they are secretly trying to sell the viewscape to the telcoms for towers all over Yellowstone. Why are they trying to be secret? Is it illegal?
Your Secret (park) Service at work!!!!!
Read about the illegal activities and secret meetings:













Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Picture perfect in YELLOWSTONE

it's good for a year
-They have been working on this for several years now, and it's almost a standard practice. If you don't like showing your driver's license when you enter the park, get a pass with your picture on it.
-Information and policy, and procedures here:

Monday, May 01, 2006


Visit Yellowstone With A Plan
check at entrance stations

<--nps map

The Yellowstone National Park Construction season is underway. Plan your trip wisely and check for closures and delays at entrance stations. There are always changes in the closure schedule - so be informed and be prepared.
Fly fishers and hikers should pay particular attention to the closures - the times seem to be firm, and it's a nusance getting a Yellowstone ranger to come and rescue you. There may be fines involved, too.

Here are the first places to check: