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

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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Few visitors troubled by higher Yellowstone and Grand Teton entry fees

Candice Phipps, a worker at the East Gate to Yellowstone National Park, checks passes of visitors arriving from Cody in this 2012 file photo.

Plenty of people will tell you that a visit to a national park like Yellowstone or Grand Teton is something you can't put a price on. But entry fees for both parks went up June 1, and despite some initial concerns, early indications are that most visitors either haven't noticed or don't seem to mind. National parks across the country are raising entry fees and other charges after National Park Service Director Jonathan Jarvis asked park superintendents last summer to assess public opinion and determine if higher rates would be supported. While it may be too soon to tell what most summer visitors to Yellowstone National Park think of the increased entry fees, there have been hardly any complaints after the first 10 days under the new rate structure, said park spokeswoman Traci Weaver. Continue Reading →

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Second injury from Yellowstone bison in three weeks highlights safety challenges

Visitors to Yellowstone National Park risk injury when allowing bison or other wildlife to approach within 25 yards. (Ruffin Prevost/Yellowstone Gate - click to enlarge)

A 62-year-old Australian man sustained serious injuries Tuesday morning after an encounter with a bison near Old Faithful Lodge in Yellowstone National Park. The man, whose name was not released by park authorities, is the second visitor in less than three weeks to suffer a serious injury after a close encounter with a bison near Old Faithful geyser. While it is not uncommon for park visitors to be injured by bison or other wildlife, officials from Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks have commented recently about what they say is a growing challenge in educating international visitors about the danger of wild animals. Continue Reading →

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Jackson beer will benefit Jenny Lake improvements in Grand Teton

The most popular beer from Wyoming's oldest brewery is getting a makeover. Actually, the beer itself will stay the same—it's the brand that's getting a refresh. And the change is likely to be a huge boost for one of the most popular destinations in Grand Teton National Park. Snake River Brewing produces both a Snake River Lager and a Snake River Ale. After 20 years, the brewery figured it was time to rebrand the acclaimed lager as a way to avoid confusion between the two beers. This week, it will be relaunched as Jenny Lake Lager. Continue Reading →

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Park chiefs expect busy summer for Yellowstone, Grand Teton

Grand Teton National Park Superintendent David Vela, left, and Yellowstone National Park Superintendent Dan Wenk spoke Monday at Cody's National Parks Day luncheon.

There are plenty of summer construction projects getting started in Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks, but it wasn't just bridge and road building that was discussed Monday at Cody's National Parks Day luncheon. There was talk of building relationships as well. Superintendents of both parks spoke at the annual event, now in its 62nd year, and both men outlined the importance—and challenges—of working with gateway towns. Continue Reading →

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‘Sidesaddles and Geysers’ offers look at women’s early travels in Yellowstone

A woman feeds a bear during an early visit to Yellowstone National Park.

Any visit to Yellowstone National Park comes with at least some sense of adventure. And packing the car for even a short family trip through the park can be a logistical challenge. But the next time you're flummoxed by packing for a Yellowstone weekend in the RV with the kids, consider Eleanor Corthell. Corthell spent two months in Yellowstone in the summer of 1903. With her seven children. Traveling by horse-drawn wagon. Camping out the entire time. Writing about her trip, Corthell recalled that her husband, a prominent attorney in Laramie, Wy., "offered strenuous objection, of course, to the crazy project, but could only fizz and fume and furnish the wherewithal." Continue Reading →

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