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

Yellowstone logs first million-visitor month in July, Park Service requires masks

 
CODY, WYO. — Yellowstone National Park logged its first million-visitor month in July, a milestone symbolic of the heavy tourist traffic across the country’s national parks, as visitors travel to wide-open spaces in response to—and in spite of—the surging delta variant of COVID-19. The National Park Service has yet to release final numbers, by Superintendent Cam Sholly told reporters last week that the park hosted approximately 1,080,000 recreational visitors in July, Yellowstone’s busiest month ever. Neighboring Grand Teton National Park also saw a record month in July, hosting an estimated 828,777 recreational visitors. Record numbers of tourists are seeking to escape to the outdoors, as COVID outbreaks are surging in hotspots around the country. Continue Reading →

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Cody Library hosts July 6 discussion on “Let’s Talk About Hard Things”

 
CODY, WYO. — Anna Sale is on a mission, and she has enlisted a few of her Wyoming friends to help get the job done. Host of the “Death, Sex and Money” podcast, Sale has written a book aimed at helping people have difficult conversations about topics many of us would rather avoid, but know we ought to address. Released in May by Simon & Schuster, “Let’s Talk About Hard Things” builds on Sale’s popular WNYC podcast, deftly weaving together a diverse range of stories about people having tough talks along five categories: death, sex, money, family and identity. Sale discusses her book at the Cody Library on Tuesday, July 6. Continue Reading →

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Hundreds gather in Cody to protest racism, excessive force

 
Approximately 300 people attended a rally at City Park in Cody on Sunday to protest against racism and also against excessive use of force by law enforcement. Attendees, most of whom were wearing protective masks, took a knee and observed 8 minutes and 46 seconds of silence during the event, noting the time listed in a second-degree murder complaint filed against Minneapolis Police officer Derek Chauvin. Charging documents stated Chauvin pressed his knee into the neck of George Floyd for nearly 9 minutes during an arrest that resulted in Floyd’s death and has sparked nationwide protests. Sunday’s event in Cody was peaceful and without incident. Among the speakers was Cody Police Chief Chuck Baker, who criticized Floyd’s death at the hands of Minneapolis police. Continue Reading →

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Early visitors eager to make Yellowstone pilgrimage

OLD FAITHFUL, WYO. — Grand Prismatic Spring is a favorite attraction in Yellowstone National Park. The largest hot spring in the U.S., its rainbow colors are a natural wonder that draws such large summer crowds that the parking lot overflows onto the road, and tourists stand three rows deep along the boardwalk, straining for a glimpse. On Tuesday morning, Jeremiah and Ashley Meyer had Grand Prismatic Spring all to themselves. The Star Valley, Wyo. Continue Reading →

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Yellowstone to open South, East gates May 18 in phased reopening

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CODY, WYO. — Yellowstone National Park is set to reopen at noon on Monday, May 18, but only through the south and east entrances located in Wyoming. The park’s other three entrances, all in Montana, will open later, at a date to be determined in cooperation with Montana officials. Early park visitors expecting to catch a glimpse of grizzly bears or Old Faithful Geyser should pack a lunch, as self-serve gas stations and public restrooms are the only services available during what the National Park Service is calling Phase 1 of what will be a phased reopening. Superintendent Cam Sholly said he wants to follow a slow and cautious approach Wednesday, speaking on a conference call with business leaders and elected officials in gateway communities that rely on park visitors for a large portion of their local economies. Continue Reading →

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Yellowstone to see staged opening with limited services

The usual spring opening for Yellowstone National Park has been delayed to help slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus. (Ruffin Prevost/Yellowstone Gate)

CODY, WYO. — The first Friday in May has traditionally marked the opening of the East Gate to Yellowstone National Park, drawing a mix of locals and hearty travelers anxious to experience spring in a park still thawing out from a long winter. But with Yellowstone still closed to help slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus, tourism industry insiders are grappling with a plan for what summer might look like in the park and the gateway towns that rely on a steady stream of visitors to fill restaurants, hotels and attractions. Park manages still haven’t announced an opening date. But they have said that Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks will see staged openings that start small and rely on fewer seasonal employees, with reduced services and a focus on visitor and worker safety. Continue Reading →

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Yellowstone lodging concessioner delays operations until June 15

CODY, WYO. — Yellowstone National Park’s primary lodging concessioner announced in an email to employees on Tuesday that it will not begin summer operations until June 15. Xanterra Travel Collection—which operates several hotels, campgrounds and tour activities in Yellowstone—told employees that the company is “waiting for directives from the National Park Service” as it revises its timeline for summer operations. Xanterra is the country’s largest park concessioner, operating in state parks and five national parks, in addition to Yellowstone. It relies heavily on seasonal employees who are housed in dormitories, cabins and other housing inside Yellowstone and other park properties. Continue Reading →

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Yellowstone, Grand Teton seek local input on plan to reopen parks

By Ruffin Prevost
CODY, WYO. — Two of the country’s busiest national parks are expecting to reopen to visitors at some point this year, but details are still far from final on when that will happen, or how that process will unfold. On a conference call lasting nearly two hours Monday with Wyoming civic and business leaders in Cody and Jackson, Yellowstone National Park Superintendent Cam Sholly and Grand Teton National Park Acting Superintendent Gopaul Noojibail stressed a cautious approach to reopening their respective parks. They were joined on the call by Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon, and billed the discussion as a listening session, saying it would take time to develop a plan for reopening the parks. A similar call is planned this week for participants in Montana. Continue Reading →

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Yellowstone, Cody summer road work on schedule despite virus concerns

CODY, WYO. — A range of road construction projects scheduled for this summer around Cody and Yellowstone National Park are currently expected to remain on schedule, with no reports yet of COVID-19 affecting workers, budgets or work progress. Work is scheduled to resume May 4 in Yellowstone on improvements to a 3.5-mile section of the East Entrance Road between Fishing Bridge and Indian Pond, said park spokeswoman Linda Veress. Work on the project is still expected to be completed substantially by late October, and the East Entrance Road will be fully accessible to visitor traffic for the duration of the 2020 summer season, Veress said. Visitors should expect delays of up to 30 minutes around Fishing Bridge, and some turnouts and trailheads may be inaccessible during construction. Continue Reading →

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Yellowstone’s historic Mammoth Hotel reopens after $30 million renovation

Yellowstone National Park Superintendent Cam Sholly greets visitors during a celebration Aug 30 marking the reopening of the Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel folowing a $30-million renovation. (NPS photo/Jacob W. Frank)

 
MAMMOTH HOT SPRINGS, WYO. — A beloved, historic hotel in Yellowstone National Park has reopened following a $30 million renovation that included room upgrades and major work to overhaul its electrical systems and stabilize the structure in the seismically active park. While the Mammoth Hotel has already been reopened and hosting guests for several days in August, the National Park Service made it official Friday, with a ribbon-cutting, room tours and a morning celebrating the history of the hotel that serves as the hub of Mammoth Hot Springs, where the Park Service’s Yellowstone headquarters are located. “We’ve got some of the most important cultural resources in the world in this park, and this is one of them,” Superintendent Cam Sholly said of Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel during Friday’s festivities. The multi-year renovation and upgrade was in the planning stages for nearly 20 years, and preserved the building’s late 1930s art moderne style, as originally designed by architect Robert Reamer, who also designed the Old Faithful Inn and redesigned Lake Hotel. Continue Reading →

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