Ruffin Prevost

Ruffin Prevost is founding editor of Yellowstone Gate, an independent, online news service about Yellowstone and Grand Teton parks and their gateway communities. He lives in Cody, Wyo., where he also works as the Wyoming reporter for Reuters news service. He worked from 2005-10 as the Wyoming reporter for the Billings Gazette and has also been managing editor of WyoFile.

Recent Posts

Recycled tires used for new walking path at Old Faithful

Volunteers help resurface a walking path near Old Faithful geyser in Yellowstone National Park.

The best way to get the most out of a visit to Yellowstone National Park is to park the car and explore some of the many paths and trails that wind through a range of unique wonders. So it's fitting that one of the newest paths in Yellowstone is built from recycled car tires. Working with corporate sponsors, volunteers and park boosters, Yellowstone has rebuilt an existing pathway at Old Faithful with a paved surface that is porous, allowing rain and snow to percolate to the water table below. That helps maintain the groundwater system that recharges geysers and other thermal features in the area. Continue Reading →

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Reservation period begins for self-guided Yellowstone snowmobile trips

Two people share a snowmobile during a January 2012 trip into Yellowstone National Park.

The week before Labor Day hardly seems like the ideal time for contemplating a winter trek through Yellowstone National Park. But Tuesday, Sept. 1 is a key date for anyone planning to travel through Yellowstone by snowmobile as part of a self-guided group. That's the first day to submit applications online for the lottery system that allocates spots in the self-guided tour program. Under a newly implemented winter-use plan, last winter was the first season since 2003 that allowed sledders to tour Yellowstone without a commercial guide. Despite relatively warmer temperatures and sparse snow, winter recreational visits park-wide increased by 14 percent over the previous year. Continue Reading →

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July sets record as busiest month ever in Yellowstone

Yellowstone National Park managers are looking for ways to more effectively deliver safety messages about watching bears, wolves and other wildlife at roadside traffic jams.

If things seemed a little crowded last month during your visit to Yellowstone National Park, it wasn't just you. It was the million other people who picked July to visit Old Faithful, Yellowstone Lake, Mammoth Hot Springs and the park's other top attractions. July was the busiest single month ever in Yellowstone, according to numbers posted online by the National Park Service. Yellowstone saw 980,702 recreational visitors last month, a 14 percent increase over July 2014, when 858,857 recreational visitors toured the park. That's 2 percent higher than June 2010, which had been the busiest month on record until now. Continue Reading →

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Meeteetse Chocolatier commutes through Yellowstone, Grand Teton to new Jackson store

Tim Kellogg, of Meeteetse, Wyo., creates hand-made gourmet truffles and other confections from fresh, local ingredients. His Meeteetse Chocolatier stores in Meeteetse and Jackson, Wyo. offer several varieties of truffles, made using recipes and techniques Kellogg learned from his grandmother.

Better known as the Meeteetse Chocolatier, Tim Kellogg has made a name over the past decade for creating rich, European-style chocolate truffles and other confections, which he sells online and from a storefront in Meeteetse, about 90 minutes from the East Gate of Yellowstone National Park. In late June, Kellogg opened a small retail outlet in downtown Jackson, just south of Grand Teton National Park. For the past month, Kellogg's weekly commute has taken him through Yellowstone and Grand Teton, as he now splits his time between Meeteetse and Jackson. Continue Reading →

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Volunteers spend 20 years preserving historic Grand Teton buildings

Volunteers have been instrumental in preserving the T.A. Moulton barn and other historic buildings in Grand Teton National Park.

During the 18th and 19th centuries, it was common for rural farmers and ranchers to volunteer their time at a community barn raising. The practice allowed for neighbors to spend a day or two building a vital structure that would help ensure someone's livelihood for years to come. For the past two decades, a group of volunteers in Grand Teton National Park have engaged in what amounts to a series of modern-day barn raisings—aimed not at building new structures, but preserving historic ones for future generations. Continue Reading →

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Popular Yellowstone drive reopens amid new thermal activity

Temporary concrete barriers have been installed around a newly formed thermal feature at the Upper Terrace Drive in Yellowstone National Park.

The Upper Terrace Drive near Mammoth Hot Springs in Yellowstone National Park reopened to vehicles on Monday after rangers had temporarily closed the road due to a new thermal feature. Maintenance crews installed temporary concrete barriers and eliminated three parking spaces around the thermal feature to help protect the feature from visitor and vehicle impacts. Continue Reading →

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Researcher examines ancient Yellowstone climate to help predict park’s future

Smoke and sunlight create deep, surreal colors during the 2008 Gunbarrel Fire, which burned along the eastern boundary of Yellowstone National Park.

Since 1872, Yellowstone National Park has been preserved and protected so that future generations will be able to enjoy the landscapes and wildlife much as they have existed for almost a century and a half. But park managers have little or no control over many factors that influence the park, including one of the most important: changes in the climate. So learning more about how Yellowstone might change as the summers become warmer, longer and drier is a key concern for planners. Cathy Whitlock, a professor of earth sciences at Montana State University-Bozeman, has a few ideas about what the future holds for Yellowstone's climate. And that insight comes from some studious detective work done looking into the past. Continue Reading →

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Plague vaccine may help ferrets bounce back from brink

A black-footed ferret chases a prairie dog, which typically makes up more than 90 percent of the ferret's diet.

For the past 15 years, Tonie Rocke and her colleagues at the University of Wisconsin have been working to develop a plague vaccine for prairie dogs, which could also benefit ferrets and other wildlife. Field testing is ongoing at 29 prairie dog sites across the country, including the Pitchfork Ranch, which Rocke visited for the first time last week. "Plague is by far the biggest threat to black-footed ferrets," said Rocke, who works in Madison, Wis. at the U.S. Geological Survey National Wildlife Health Center. Ferrets can be infected with plague by eating diseased prairie dogs, or by being bitten by fleas carried by prairie dogs. Continue Reading →

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Natural Atlas offers digital access to open spaces of greater Yellowstone

A sample entry from Natural Atlas offers topographical maps showing the location of Old Faithful Geyser in Yellowstone National Park.

Visitors to the greater Yellowstone area can use any number of apps, websites and other digital tools to find a great hotel or restaurant, relying on reviews and tips from locals and other tourists to decide which one is right for them. A few more clicks can yield turn-by-turn directions and detailed street maps. But what about the great outdoors? Wouldn't it be great if you could search through detailed topographical maps for natural features the same way you use Google maps to find a coffee shop? Or what if your fellow hikers, anglers, climbers and others could add comments and photos to points of interest like waterfalls or campgrounds—with all of that data easily found through a quick online search? It seems like an impossible fantasy for outdoor enthusiasts, but Natural Atlas is a newly launched online platform that aims to accomplish all that and more. Continue Reading →

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Planners aim to attract Obama to Yellowstone for 2016 visit

President Barack Obama awaits the eruption of Old Faithful with First Lady Micelle Obama and daughters Sasha and Malia during a 2009 visit to Yellowstone National Park.

President Barack Obama had a busy week, making headlines and sparking discussions on a wide range of issues in what may well turn out to be the most defining few days of his presidency. The week's events showed that even a lame duck president with 45 percent approval ratings who has long since lost once-solid majorities in Congress can still command the nation's attention. It also explains why many in the Yellowstone National Park gateway town of Gardiner, Mont. are working hard to attract Obama as a featured guest for next summer's celebration of the National Park Service centennial. Continue Reading →

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