Recent Posts

10 fantastic Instagram photos of Yellowstone and Grand Teton parks

The U.S. Department of Interior has been showing off your public lands and wildlife over the last several months with an amazing collection of photos on the agency's Instagram feed. While there's no doubt America's national parks and other wild places lend themselves to terrific snapshots, the quality of images on the Interior Department's Instagram feed is surprisingly fantastic. Continue Reading →

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White House marks National Park Week

With National Park Week running from Monday through Friday, April 22 to 26, the White House blog took note of the annual tradition by reposting a video from President Barack Obama’s 2009 family vacation to Yellowstone National Park. According to the White House, Obama first visited Yellowstone “on a summer-long cross country trip he took as a young boy with his mother, grandmother and sister,” all of whom also joined him on the 2009 trip. The video features some archival footage of Presidents Ford, Clinton, Carter, Roosevelt (both of them) and other chief executives in the park, plus background from Yellowstone historian Lee Whittlesey, filmmaker Ken Burns and others. It’s no secret that Theodore Roosevelt was an avid outdoorsman and enthusiastic big game hunter, as well as a proponent of parks. But in a great excerpt unearthed by author and historian M. Mark Miller, Roosevelt conveys a passion for hunting that few holding high office can match. Continue Reading →

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The first written description of Yellowstone geysers in 1827

A postcard of Cliff Spring from 1928 based on a photo by Asahel Curtis. (NPS image)

By the early 1800s, trappers were scouring the Rocky Mountains for beaver. Evidence of their travel is sketchy, but we know that trapper brigades reached the Yellowstone plateau by 1826. An anonymous account of a trapper’s adventures in what is now Yellowstone National Park was published in The Philadelphia Gazette and Advertiser. Continue Reading →

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Diverse range of historic vehicles have traveled roads of Yellowstone Park

Park County Travel Council Marketing Director Claudia Wade, right, chats with visitors to the Buffalo Bill Historical Center in Cody, Wyo. about a refurbished 1936 tour bus that is used for commercial tours in Yellowstone National Park. (Yellowstone Gate file photo/Ruffin Prevost)

How visitors have traveled in Yellowstone and other national parks has tended to reflect the culture and technology of the times. The National Park Service's collection of historic vehicles in Gardiner, Mont. includes 30 vehicles, ranging from stagecoaches to buses to trucks and even a fire engine. The collection, believed to be one of the largest of any National Park Service Unit, is not available for viewing by the general public, although the Park Service plans to someday exhibit the collection if funding becomes available. Continue Reading →

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A Cloudburst of the rarest jewels: Fountain Geyser described in 1905

I ran back a few steps, then turned a caught my breath; for at that very instant, up from the pool which I had just beheld so beautiful and tranquil, there rose on great outburst of sublimity, such a stupendous mass of water as I had never imagined possible in vertical form. I knew that it was boiling and that a deluge of those scalding drops would probably mean death, but I was powerless to move. Continue Reading →

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How I Got That Shot: Three Musketeers

photo ©Meg Sommers

While it is not unusual for a grizzly mom to have two cubs in Yellowstone National Park, three cubs is pretty rare, and a huge handful for her. Watching over three cubs is a challenge, as wildlife watchers learned first-hand shortly after this photo was taken. The mother bear had been seen frequently in the area between Mary Bay and Lake Hotel. In fact, she had a regular route that she took in a big circle between those two locations. If you watched long enough, you began to learn her preferred path and habits. Continue Reading →

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An 1880s tale of catching and cooking a fish on same line in Yellowstone

Fishing Cone in Yellowstone National Park.

Many Yellowstone Park tourists have described places where an angler can catch a fish and cook it in a nearby hot spring without taking it off the hook, but few report actually doing it. Henry J. Winser described performing the feat in his 1883 guide for tourists. Continue Reading →

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Winter sports footage: Awesome videos or disturbing images?

A still frame from a video shot by skier Josh Tatman shows his shadow on the snow just before he is injured in a fall on a steep slope in Grand Teton National Park. (click to enlarge)

Where is the line between gnarly and disturbing? It's a somewhat subjective matter as to whether a photo or video is informative, cautionary, exploitative, gruesome or something else. Most news outlets have some sort of editorial review or vetting process for content that might be considered inappropriate. But such policies are hardly foolproof. And the boundaries between news and raw footage continue to shift as it becomes easier to post and share digital content. Continue Reading →

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An Englishman tells of a stagecoach robbery in Yellowstone country

Horse-drawn coaches were the common method for travel in the early days of Yellowstone National Park. (Yellowstone Digital Slide File - click to enlarge)

Before completion of the Nothern Pacific’s transcontinental railroad in 1883, many early Yellowstone visitors often came long distances by stagecoach—and that wasn’t always safe. In 1872 a young Englishman named Sidford Hamp, who had spent the summer working on the second Hayden expedition documenting Yellowstone Park, told about a stagecoach robbery in a letter to his mother. Continue Reading →

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Remembering the first commercial tour guide in Yellowstone Park

click to enlarge

Most of the earliest Yellowstone National Park tourists came from Montana because that’s where the access rivers ran. The north entrance via the Yellowstone River was 60 miles from the farm town of Bozeman, and the west entrance via the Madison was 90 miles from the gold rush town of Virginia City. Both rivers flow through rugged canyons that made travel difficult. In fact, the Madison Canyon was so bad that early travelers chose to cross the continental divide twice to avoid it. But that was a small sacrifice. Passage over the Raynolds and Targhee Passes was relatively easy. Besides, traveling this route provided the reward of a stop at Henry’s Lake. Continue Reading →

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