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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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Departing Yellowstone spokesman reflects on decade tackling park’s tough issues

Al Nash has left the National Park Service after 9 years as the spokesman for Yellowstone National Park.

One of the first things Al Nash can remember about Yellowstone National Park is the smell. "I remember how stinky it was—that sulfur smell," Nash said, recalling a trip to Yellowstone with his parents when he was a young child, more than 50 years ago. "I remember my mom shooing my sister and I into the car while my dad was trying to get a photo of a black bear in a pull-out," he said. Those early Yellowstone memories came flooding back this month as Nash, the chief of public affairs for Yellowstone since 2006, reflected on nearly a decade in that role just before his last day on the job March 18. Continue Reading →

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Historic Yellowstone novel offers romantic view of park from bygone era

Visitors take in the view from atop the Old Faithful Inn in this undated Yellowstone National Park archival photo, likely from around 1910.

You don't have to go far in Yellowstone National Park to find a romantic spot that would be the perfect setting for an epic love story. From sweeping overlooks to hot springs and waterfalls to historic hotels and cabins, the park is full of beautiful places that would inspire passion in even the coldest heart. So it should come as no surprise that Yellowstone has been a popular place not only for marriage proposals and weddings, but also for many fictional romance tales, ranging from a contemporary series of popular stories to a florid yarn published more than a century ago. In fact, there have been at least three or four series of Yellowstone romance novels published over the years, along with many standalone stories. Continue Reading →

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Cowboy hats out of fashion in Wyoming sheriff’s office

License plates on vehicles all across Wyoming feature the silhouette of a rodeo rider atop a bucking bronc, holding aloft a cowboy hat. The iconic image is Wyoming's official logo, a state-owned, registered trademark that serves as a ubiquitous symbol of the Cowboy State's cultural identity. But sheriff's deputies riding in cruisers—or on horseback—in Sublette County, about 80 miles south of Grand Teton National Park, won't be sporting cowboy hats any longer under. A new dress code in the department prompted one longtime local lawman to retire early, saying he'd rather quit than give up his beloved hat and boots. Continue Reading →

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Yellowstone science efforts to include greater focus on public opinion

Yellowstone National Park's departing top scientist says his staff has long conducted "world-class" research on animals like gray wolves and grizzly bears, but that there is room for improvement in learning more about public opinion on key issues. David Hallac, who has spent the past three years as division chief of the Yellowstone Center for Resources, said it is important for park managers to continue to work closely with state wildlife experts, and to develop more hard data about public perceptions of wildlife and park policies. Continue Reading →

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Yellowstone hosts new citizens in park’s first naturalization ceremony

U.S. Magistrate Judge for the District of Wyoming Mark Carman speaks to new citizens after administering their naturalization oath Sept. 3 in a ceremony at Mammoth Hot Springs in Yellowstone National Park.

Yellowstone National Park often plays host to a range of special occasions like marriage proposals, birthdays, family reunions and even the scattering of cremated remains. But until now, the park had never been the site for a naturalization ceremony. On a crisp, breezy, picture-perfect morning earlier this month, 42 immigrants from 20 different countries gathered near the Liberty Cap to take the oath of citizenship in what park officials said was the first observance of its kind in Yellowstone. Continue Reading →

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‘Geyser Gazers’ patiently wait for Yellowstone eruptions

Self-described 'geyser gazer' Ryan Maurer takes notes after the eruptions of Lion Geyser in Yellowstone National Park.

Yellowstone is home to two-thirds of the world’s geysers, attracting visitors from around the world. Most catch Old Faithful and may wander the boardwalks and accidentally witness other eruptions. Some look at the schedule in the visitor’s office listing the times for the six predictable regular geysers, Great Fountain, Grand, Castle, Daisy and Riverside along with Old Faithful, and plan their day in hopes of catching those in action. But a dedicated few devote weeks, and sometimes entire summers, to waiting, watching and recording eruptions. These are geyser gazers and members of the Geyser Observation and Study Association. Continue Reading →

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Electric fence program helps avoid Yellowstone area bear conflicts

P.J. Schneider, left, and dog dexter take a break while installing an electric fence last month with Russ Talmo. Defenders of wildilfe helped Schneider with cost-sharing and tehnical expertise on the project at a ranch southwest of Cody, Wyo. where chickens and goats could attract grizzly bears.

As the long, hot days of summer give way to cooler fall weather, bears across the greater Yellowstone area begin to binge on every available food source in preparation for winter hibernation. That typically brings increased conflicts with people, as bears become single-minded in their pursuit of calories, pushing into more populated areas and spending more of their time searching for a meal. Which is one reason why P.J. Schneider, 15, was busy last month installing an electric fence around a pen and small shed where he keeps 14 chickens and three goats. Continue Reading →

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Cody Wild West River Fest celebrates role of Shoshone River in local life

River Runners guide Larry Boyles, far left, launches a raft full of whitewater seekers into the middle of the Shoshone River, near the Belfry Highway bridge at the north edge of Cody, Wyo. in this June 2008 file photo.

After an inaugural 2013 program that organizers said was "wildly successful," Cody's Wild West River Fest returns this weekend with a wide range of family-friendly events centered around the Shoshone River. The 3-day celebration includes contests, races, demonstrations, parties, concerts and other events aimed at educating attendees about the importance of the Shoshone River to life in Cody and the surrounding area, and promoting outdoor recreation and stewardship focused on maintaining a healthy waterway. Continue Reading →

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Yellowstone history presentation in Cooke City on July 12

The Miner's Saloon is a popular watering hole in Cooke City, Mont., at the northeast border of Yellowstone National Park.

I love Montana’s many small museums and it looks like I’ll get to preview a brand new one next week in Cooke City, at the northeastern edge of Yellowstone National Park. I’ll be presenting my Humanities Montana Program, “Sidesaddles and Geysers,” on Saturday, July 12, at 7:30 p.m. at Joe’s Campfire next to the Cooke City Community Center. Joe’s Campfire is part of the new Cooke City Museum and honors a park ranger who used to lecture there on nature and history. I’m thrilled to be carrying on Joe’s legacy. Continue Reading →

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