YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK — Relying on a spectacular display of mother nature to drive his point home, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence on Thursday called for additional funding for America’s national parks, saying they are “extraordinary treasures in the life of our nation.” Pence was joined in Yellowstone National Park by Interior Secretary David Bernhardt and Yellowstone Superintendent Cam Sholly. The Vice President spoke in front of a well-timed, routine eruption from the reliable Old Faithful Geyser to push for a Congressional appropriation to address deferred maintenance in America’s national parks. The Trump administration is backing a bipartisan bill that would set aside an estimated $6.8 billion over 10 years to be spent on a $16 billion maintenance backlog at Interior. Nearly $12 billion of that is needed by the National Park Service to repair campgrounds, roads, bridges, visitor centers, trails and other infrastructure. Continue Reading →
MAMMOTH HOT SPRINGS, WYO. — A beloved, historic hotel in Yellowstone National Park has reopened following a $30 million renovation that included room upgrades and major work to overhaul its electrical systems and stabilize the structure in the seismically active park. While the Mammoth Hotel has already been reopened and hosting guests for several days in August, the National Park Service made it official Friday, with a ribbon-cutting, room tours and a morning celebrating the history of the hotel that serves as the hub of Mammoth Hot Springs, where the Park Service’s Yellowstone headquarters are located. “We’ve got some of the most important cultural resources in the world in this park, and this is one of them,” Superintendent Cam Sholly said of Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel during Friday’s festivities.
CODY, WYO. — Approximately 80 people employed at active pharmaceutical ingredient manufacturer Cody Labs will lose their jobs over the next 100 days, after parent company Lannett Co. Inc. announced plans this week to close the facility by the end of September. Cody Labs is a wholly owned subsidiary of Philadelphia-based pharmaceutical manufacturer Lannett, which also operates drug manufacturing facilities in Carmel, N.Y. and Seymour, Ind. Lannett had been seeking a buyer since last fall for its Cody plant. Continue Reading →
CODY, WYO. — Investigations by attorneys general for several states into generic drug price fixing appear to be advancing, and the parent company of Cody Labs is likely to be subject to claims brought as a result of that investigation, according to a recent federal securities filing. Philadelphia-based pharmaceutical manufacturer Lannett, Co. disclosed in a public quarterly report filed Monday that it was notified earlier this month by investigators that the company was among a group of drug manufacturers state attorneys general will be filing claims against in a long-running, multi-state investigation into anti-competitive behavior in the generic drug industry. Cody Labs is a wholly owned subsidiary of Lannett, which also operates drug manufacturing facilities in Carmel, N.Y. and Seymour, Ind. Continue Reading →
CODY, WYO. — Modern stargazers have a host of sophisticated options for locating and tracking celestial bodies, from charts and books to telescopes and smart phone apps. In fact, the smartphones that run such sophisticated astronomy apps have far greater memory and processing power than the computers that charted a path for Apollo astronauts to reach the moon. But early inhabitants of the greater Yellowstone region may have relied on their own technological tool to chart the stars and track events like the summer solstice, according to one researcher who presented her findings to a packed house Thursday at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West. Ivy Merriot, a Bozeman, Mont.-based writer focused on indigenous astronomy, theorizes that Native Americans used a series of stones arranged like a spoked wheel to understand, remember and predict astronomical events.
Merriot has spent a decade studying the Medicine Wheel, a centuries-old site on Medicine Mountain near Lovell, Wyo. Continue Reading →
Local and regional public health officials are working with researchers in Yellowstone National Park to learn more about the origins and life cycle of a strange virus that could be causing highly aggressive behavior in small wildlife in the park and surrounding areas. While little is known about the newly encountered, so-called “geyser virus,” park officials stress that it doesn’t appear to pose an immediate threat to human health. But they are advising park visitors to take extra precautions around any small animal that doesn’t appear to display typical signs of fear, or that shows outright aggression. Concern about the geyser virus first arose after a series of bizarre wildlife encounters involving backcountry skiers and hikers in and around Yellowstone over the winter. Visitors reported uncharacteristically aggressive behavior from a variety of small mammals, ranging from otters to beavers to pikas. Continue Reading →
CODY, WYO. — Colossal dinosaur skeletons are a prime attraction at major museums in big cities like Chicago, Berlin, New York and Washington, D.C. But none of those institutions can match what Wyoming offers for a hands-on, citizen science thunder lizard experience in the heart of dinosaur country. “Paleontology is not accessible to the general public, and it’s paleontology’s fault,” said Andrew Rossi, an interpretive guide at the Wyoming Dinosaur Center in Thermopolis. Big museums keep their fossils behind railings and glass as part of a deliberate effort to protect valuable, one-of-a-kind specimens. But visitors crave a personal experience getting their hands dirty on a real dig, Rossi said. Continue Reading →
Roads in Yellowstone National Park are closing to snowmobile and snow coach travel as the winter season winds down. Spring plowing will start as road segments close. All snowmobile and snow coach travel will end for the season Friday, March 15, at 9 p.m. As weather and plowing operations allow, 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. Continue Reading →
Microbes found in the extreme environments of Yellowstone National Park thermal features are key to a major financial investment in a new form of protein that could find its way into commercial foods within a few years. Sustainable Bioproducts, a biotechnology company developing a new way to grow edible protein, announced last month that investors have pledged $33 million toward commercializing a process that has its roots in a Montana microbiologist’s research into tiny organisms that thrive in the hot, acidic waters of Yellowstone. A Silicon Valley-based venture fund, 1955 Capital, was among the major investors in Chicago-based Sustainable Bioproducts, which also has offices in Bozeman, Mont. Another backer is Breakthrough Energy Ventures—whose investors include Microsoft founder Bill Gates and Amazon’s Jeff Bezos. Sustainable Bioproducts is developing a fermentation process that aims to produce a protein with high nutritional value, while having minimal environmental impact, according to a statement released by the company. Continue Reading →
The young male wasn’t an Olympic athlete in training, but his daily movements were tracked and recorded with amazing precision. He wasn’t on a crash diet, but what he ate was well-known, along with where and when he ate it. He wasn’t a patient with a rare or fatal disease, but his entire genome was sequenced. And he wasn’t a crime victim, although his violent death at a young age was determined by lab work and an arduous field investigation. The young male was M198, one of the first cougars fitted with a special tracking collar that is a cornerstone of the Yellowstone Cougar Project. Continue Reading →
CODY, WYO. — A mule deer doe cautiously makes her way along a riverbank, sniffing the wind before moving out from the cover of willows to cross a busy highway. A passing motorists slows just in time to spot the animal as it hesitates, then bolts across the road. It’s a familiar scenario in Wyoming, but what drivers in the spring and fall may not realize is that road crossing is a small part of a seasonal migration that spans hundreds of miles. And if that doe is wearing a GPS tracking collar, there’s a good chance she’s generating an avalanche of data about her movements. Continue Reading →