dan wenk

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Yellowstone Lake Hotel celebrates 125 years of hosting park visitors

The National Park Service is observing its centennial this summer, but it was a grand old hotel 25 years older than the Park Service that kicked off the season's festivities in Yellowstone National Park on Friday. Dozens gathered at Yellowstone Lake Hotel to celebrate the structure's designation last year as a National Historic Landmark, and to mark 125 years since the hotel opened to the public in 1891. Continue Reading →

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Record crowds push Yellowstone managers to plan for 2016

Yellowstone National Park Superintendent Dan Wenk has been making the rounds to gateway communities to discuss the ups and downs of the park's record summer visitation. The good news is that more people are coming to Yellowstone than ever. Which is also the bad news. Or more specifically, that so many autos and buses are rolling through the park. "We saw more vehicles in Yellowstone National Park than we've ever seen before," Wenk said last week in Cody during an informal meeting with tourism industry leaders. Wenk has also met with similar groups as part of what he called "listening sessions" in the Montana towns of Gardiner, West Yellowstone and Cooke City, as well as in developed areas in the park. Continue Reading →

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Yellowstone faces winter season without 3 key leaders

Yellowstone National Park Superintendent Dan Wenk has accepted a temporary position as interim president of the National Park Foundation in Washington, D.C.

With only a month until snowmobiles and snow coaches begin entering Yellowstone National Park, three of the park's top managers will be tending to new duties in other locations. Though the timing is coincidental, and two of the moves are temporary, the circumstances will mean a big change in Yellowstone's daily leadership for the 2014-15 winter season. Yellowstone's superintendent, a top management assistant in charge of winter use and the park's lead scientist have all recently taken assignments in other states. Continue Reading →

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Yellowstone Science Conference looks beyond boundaries for answers

The 12th Biennial Scientific Conference on the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem is being held over three days this week at Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel, centered on a theme of "Crossing Boundaries." But judging from some of the comments during Tuesday's panel discussions and coffee breaks, it seemed like the conference itself had at times crossed a boundary from the world of esoteric hypotheses posed by cautious researchers into a realm of eager discovery and engaged debate by journalists, advocates and members of the general public. Continue Reading →

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Yellowstone asks Wyoming to adopt ‘orphan’ Beartooth Highway

The Beartooth Highway is a high-altitude scenic byway that snakes along the Montana-Wyoming border and tops out at nearly 11,000 feet.

Yellowstone National Park Superintendent Dan Wenk traveled to Cheyenne on Thursday to ask Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead and state transportation officials to participate in a unique adopt-a-highway program. Wenk wasn't looking for volunteers to clean up roadside litter. Instead, he asked Wyoming to take ownership of an "orphan" stretch of the Beartooth Highway. The soaring, scenic byway connects the Montana towns of Cooke City and Red Lodge, but it also passes through nearly 35 miles of high country just inside Wyoming's northern boundary. Continue Reading →

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Yellowstone winter tour operators wary of new concessions contracts

Yellowstone National Park managers passed a major milestone last week with the release of a final winter-use rule that appears to have gained widespread acceptance as a workable solution to 15 years of ongoing legal challenges over snowmobile travel in the park. But it's unlikely park planners will have much time to celebrate their success, as there is a large piece of the winter-use puzzle that remains unsolved. Continue Reading →

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Final rule for winter travel in Yellowstone gains widespread approval

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

CODY, WYO. — After more than 15 years of contentious debate over snowmobile travel in Yellowstone National Park, the National Park Service on Tuesday released a final winter-use plan that appears to have a solid chance of avoiding legal challenges. The latest plan follows six previous failed attempts and a total of more than 1.1 million public comments. Environmental groups have said snowmobiles are loud, dirty and stressful for animals. Tour operators have said increasing travel restrictions have made it difficult to stay in business. Continue Reading →

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3 Yellowstone superintendents to speak at West Yellowstone event

Three Yellowstone National Park superintendents will talk about their tenures guiding the world’s first national park and take questions in West Yellowstone, Mont. later this month. Current Yellowstone Superintendent Dan Wenk will be joined by former superintendents Mike Finley and Bob Barbee as featured speakers for the Greater Yellowstone Coalition’s 30th anniversary celebration. Continue Reading →

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Yellowstone winter-use plan moves ahead with Park Service decision

A collared elk is wary, but appears relatively undisturbed by passing snowmobiles in Yellowstone National Park.

The long slog toward resolving more than a decade of legal conflicts over snowmobiles in Yellowstone National Park took another procedural step forward Wednesday, as the National Park Service issued a formal record of decision that marks the end of the planning process that will govern over-snow travel in the park. "I think we have a fighting chance," Yellowstone Superintendent Dan Wenk said Thursday of the plan's prospects for avoiding or withstanding courtroom entanglements. Continue Reading →

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Yellowstone and Grand Teton heads focus on cutting costs, raising revenues

Federal budget cuts required under the Congressional sequester will result in relatively minor cuts in services this summer for visitors to Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks. But park managers say they are not optimistic about the financial outlook for next year and beyond. Continue Reading →

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