Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Reds Invade Yellowland

Parade To Honor "Good Old Days"

.. There will be a grand parade in Yellowstone on Saturday June 2, 2007. The theme of the parade is "Transporting Yellowstone," and will feature different modes of transportation over the years; including the "New Yellow Bus." The parade is to honor the return of the fleet of "old" Yellow Buses to Yellowstone.
.. Glacier National Park will send one of it's justly famous red and black buses to celebrate with the new old fleet in Yellowstone. (Do "Jammers" only exist in Glacier?)

On Friday, June 1, a Red Bus is scheduled to depart East Glacier at 8:00 a.m. for its journey to Yellowstone. GPI's transportation manager, Dave Eglsaer has chosen a route to show off the vintage Red to communities as it drives through Browning, Bynum, Choteau, Great Falls, I-15 South to Helena, Townsend, I-90 east to Bozeman, Livingston and on Highway 89 to Yellowstone. (from Business Wire press release.)

.. The event marks the first time that a red bus will share the road with a yellow bus. We hope that the sibling rivalry will engender a good time for all.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

The Fords Are Ready

Looks Old - Is New
there were others
some are real

.. The reproduction White Motors Convertible Touring Sedans are ready for business. They are staged, for the moment at Mammoth, and ready for service as tour buses for park visitors.
.. At a reported cost of $250,000 each, Xanterra Parks and Resorts has fulfilled one of their contract obligations by teaming up with Ford Motor company to bring this fleet of 11 (8 were recently purchased by the park concessionaire,) coaches back into service.
.. The reproductions are modeled after the 1936 White Motors Convertible Limousine and are a creditable rendition of the originals.
.. The power train, running gear, and front sheet metal are reproduced, and the dashboard and gauges and steering wheel are all modern. They look old and run new.
.. There are some original 1936 White Limousine's still in service and in private hands. The West Yellowstone Historic Center has a restored original that it uses to give tours in the Summertime. The Museum's vehicle, (#437,) has undergone a complete restoration - where necessary- and still sports it's original upholstery and other components, including the original grill badge and gauges.
.. The interesting aspect of these vehicles is that the custom-built coach was the important part; not the sheet metal on the front. Many of the coaches were updated in the 1950's with 'modern' Ford engines and sheet metal back then. These 1950's conversions are rare but are known to exist, and are shown here.

.. Brief History: of all the Cleveland-based auto manufacturers, the longest-lived company was White Motor, which got its start with steam-powered cars, but became one of the main truck manufacturers in America.
.. The White Motor company was started by Thomas White but this 100+ year old company did not start by building automobiles. In 1876 Thomas White moved from Massachusetts to Cleveland where new markets were opening up for sewing machines. By the 1890s, the company was a national distributor of ‘sewing machines.’
.. In 1890 the bicycle craze swept the nation and White hopped right on. White thought he was on the cutting edge of transportation until the automobile popped up. This new horseless carriage fascinated Thomas White's sons Windsor and Rollin and they convinced their father that automobiles were something to invest in and create.
.. Rollin was an excellent engineer and after studying various automobiles he redesigned the boiler used on steam-powered cars which were quite popular in the early days. He developed a flash boiler that was safer than existing boilers and allowed the automobile's engine to produce steam faster than a traditional steam engine.
.. It was not difficult for the production lines at the White plant to produce the components necessary for automobiles and they began building steam powered automobiles. In 1899, the brothers introduced their first steam-powered automobile, followed by a small delivery truck. The company quickly acquired a reputation for crafting quality vehicles and the Automobile Department was split off as The White Motor Car Company.
.. White Sewing Machine continued to focus on its product line, and the new car company moved out, building a factory on Cleveland's eastern edge. Soon the steam-powered car was replaced with the gasoline-powered car, as White quickly adapted, continuing to build expensive, high-quality cars and light trucks. During World War One the White Motor Co. fashioned trucks for the United States military and abroad.
.. Czar Nicholas of Imperial Russia purchased an entire fleet of White-built trucks, making White an international name. In the 1930’s the White Motor Co. entered the great depression in a bad way. After a series of major setbacks Robert Black was appointed the new president of the White Motor Co. in 1935 and the White 'Touring Sedans' and 'Touring Limousines' were born.
.. The National Park Service worked up a program for production of canvas-topped 'touring sedans' to provide a special 'multi-sensory experience' for visitors sightseeing in the National Parks.The White Motor Company designed and built 500 of these 25-foot-long touring sedans. That was a fairly large production run of a unique vehicle and most of the buses were retired from service in the 1950s.
.. These vehicles were used in various western national parks including Bryce Canyon, Glacier, Grand Canyon, Mt. Rainier, Yellowstone, Yosemite, and Zion National Parks. While the canvas-topped tour sedans were replaced elsewhere, the fleet of (red) sedans at Glacier National Park was maintained in continuous service. These sedans were ideal for trips across the Going-to-the-Sun Road. The open-air tour sedan afforded visitors a unique experience as they rolled across the Continental Divide.

.. You Can read the straight news story in the Casper Star Tribune.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Proposed Winter Rule Available

The rule governing winter use in Yellowstone has been published.
.. Here are some quotes:

" . . .the temporary plan requires that all recreational snowmobiles entering the parks meet best available technology (BAT) requirements. This requirement, along with air emissions requirements for snowcoaches, ensures that the vast majority of recreational over-snow vehicles operating in the parks employ current emissions control equipment, and has resulted in improvements in air quality and natural soundscapes."

"Beginning in the 2011-2012 season, all snowcoaches must meet air emission requirements, which will be the functional equivalent of having EPA Tier I emissions control equipment incorporated into the engine and drive train for the vehicle class (size and weight) as a wheeled vehicle."

"Beginning in the 2011-2012 season, snowcoaches must meet a sound emissions requirement of no greater than 73dBA; test procedures to be determined by the NPS."

"No more than eight snowmobiles would be permitted in a group with one commercial guide; no more than 17 snowmobiles would be permitted in a group with two commercial guides on separate snowmobiles. Group numbers include the guide's machine."

"As of the 2008-2009 winter season, the East Entrance road would be closed to through travel by oversnow vehicles in order to address the avalanche risk at Sylvan Pass that cannot be reasonably mitigated. The one-year delay in implementing the change on the East Entrance road is proposed in response to comments received from cooperating agencies who expressed concern for communities and businesses to make appropriate adjustments."

.. Comment period closes July 16, 2007.
.. See the rule, and comment HERE, (key word=Yellowstone.)


Did You Know?
At peak summer levels, 3,500 employees work for Yellowstone National Park concessionaires and about 800 work for the park. Just who is running Yellowstone National Park?

Friday, May 18, 2007

Some Local, Some Other - News

Comment Period Over - Wolves Still News
make wolves and bears 'trust fund babies?'
where's the BFC when you really need them?

.. There is a new West Yellowstone Community Calendar & Forum. This new site is sponsored by the Madison Arm Resort & Bodhi Trading.
.. Community events are featured on a Google calendar and the forum is open to the public for messages, political comments, park events, and other categories.
.. There is also a new National Park Service Calendar. According to the NPS DIGEST Daily Headlines, the park events site has been launched. This is entitled "National Parks: The Place to Be for Family Fun - 2007-"
.. This site allows visitors to click on an NPS region and view the calendar of events for that region. It also allows all events to be viewed at once if the visitor chooses. The calendar site also includes links to: Entrance Pass Information, Campground Reservations,, and
.. John Daly reminds us that there are a large number of concerned scientists that are vocal about the delisting of wolves:
"It used to be that I had faith that the scientists at the Fish and Wildlife Service did a good job, and that the agency reported their conclusions fairly. Now I wonder whether the Bush administration is overriding scientific judgments in order to please a conservative constituency in the West. JAD"
.. Mathew Brown of the AP reports about the consideration of a federally funded trust fund to help states with the newly delisted Grizzly & Wolf. See comments by Ralph Maughn and others.
.. With all the hubub and hubub about the poor buffalo and their defenders, we wonder why they let the buffalo roam on the airport runways in West Yellowstone. Certainly removing these dangerous impediments to aviation should be a priority of people who truly care about the dumb beasts.
.. Would hazing the bison from this area in order to potentially save human life be in conflict with the bleeding hearts and foreheads of these publicity seekers?

Monday, May 14, 2007

Virtual Tour Guide Comes To Yellowstone

.. Last month we promised to fill you in on the details of this new money-making venture in Yellowstone.
.. Well. here it is. It's finally happened. A Pocatello, Idaho enterprise has filled a much needed void in Yellowstone's entrepreneurial landscape.
.. Tours & tour guides are about to become obsolete in Yellowstone National Park. Maybe even the rangers can now be replaced.
.. A little kiosk, built on a pallet, on rented ground is set to revolutionize your "Yellowstone Experience."
.. As the advertising says:
"It's like having a park ranger in your car."
"You choose your attraction, we guide your way!"
"The entire family can listen to the tour for under $50."
"Rent our GPS & go at your own pace."

.. This sounds too good to be true. Your own pet ranger with an automated view screen who anticipates your every question. And the nicest part is that you don't have to ante-up a tip or meet any schedule but your own. Just pay your money, pick up the unit, tour the park, drop it off at any other entrance . . . what more could you want?
.. Just touch the screen and a turn by turn narrative plays for you. You even get background music. Even pull-outs come with a narrative. And wonder of wonders there are even "Lost stories about the parks [sic] history." You can even learn " . . . facts that have been long lost until now." Such a deal!
.. For a preview click HERE for the MOUNT HAYNES sample narrative.
.. There are even employment opportunities, (on a commission basis - no less!): LINK.
.. This may just be what lagging park attendance needs - Yellowstone as a video game.
.. The kiosk is located at 116 Grizzly Avenue, in West Yellowstone, Montana.
.. For more information you can call 406-646-7047, or go to
.. Well, after all, it's " . . . just another roadside attraction," - with apologies to Tom Robbins.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Wolves & Bears - - Disney & Pornography

Bears Still Not Out Of The Woods
And Now Disney?

.. The public comment period for the final wolf delisting will end on May 9, 2007. That's less than a week from today. If you are concerned about the wolves, their future, and how they will be managed; now is the time to comment.
.. In the February 8, 2007, Federal Register, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service published its proposal to delist the gray wolf in the northern Rocky Mountains. It can be viewed HERE.
.. Public comments can be electronically mailed to, hand-delivered to USFWS, 585 Shepard Way, Helena, MT 59601, or mailed to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Wolf Delisting, 585 Shepard Way, Helena, MT 59601.
.. There are still concerns about the Wyoming plan to deal with wolves and the courts will have this portion of the delisting for quite some time. You can read the brief story in the Cody Enterprise.
.. There has been much to read about the recent Grizzly Bear delisting. An article in the Billings Gazette sheds some light on the problems the bears will face as global warming causes the world to heat up.
.. From the possibility of fewer winter-killed elk to the changing behavior of Yellowstone's Cutthroat Trout, a variety of changing conditions will affect how the bears will have to adapt.
.. One adaptation that is receiving little attention is the adaptation to human presence. An essay in Carnivoria points to this very real situation and the continuing threat it poses to both the bears and humans. Yellowstone National Park will certainly have to deal with this more frequently as time goes by.
.. Earth Justice has been on top of the issue from the start, and feels that the recent delisting violates the original USFWS guidelines. This issue is still not resolved.
.. There are a couple of items that relate to the Disney Corporation that may interest Yellowstone fans. A Step Apart comments on the expansion of the Disney Tour Company and the possibility of Disney Tours in Yellowstone. The comments are about a story originally published in the Miami Herald.
.. And children, who were expecting some Disney Channel cartoons were recently treated to a bit of a peep show as a cable provider substituted a pornographic segment for the family entertainment. From Trenton, New Jersey, to Seattle, to Great Britain, this story has made big news. Even Yahoo and MSN have carried a version of the story.
.. This bit of obscenity is probably not near as bad as what may happen if Disney really decides to provide tours in Yellowstone, Grand Canyon, and other National Parks.