Local and regional public health officials are working with researchers in Yellowstone National Park to learn more about the origins and life cycle of a strange virus that could be causing highly aggressive behavior in small wildlife in the park and surrounding areas. While little is known about the newly encountered, so-called “geyser virus,” park officials stress that it doesn’t appear to pose an immediate threat to human health. But they are advising park visitors to take extra precautions around any small animal that doesn’t appear to display typical signs of fear, or that shows outright aggression. Concern about the geyser virus first arose after a series of bizarre wildlife encounters involving backcountry skiers and hikers in and around Yellowstone over the winter. Visitors reported uncharacteristically aggressive behavior from a variety of small mammals, ranging from otters to beavers to pikas. Continue Reading →
Roads in Yellowstone National Park are closing to snowmobile and snow coach travel as the winter season winds down. Spring plowing will start as road segments close. All snowmobile and snow coach travel will end for the season Friday, March 15, at 9 p.m. As weather and plowing operations allow, some park roads will reopen to automobile travel Friday, April 19, at 8 a.m.
Road Closure Dates (gates close at 9 p.m.)
Friday, March 1, East Entrance to Lake Butte Overlook (Sylvan Pass)
Sunday, March 3, Mammoth Hot Springs to Norris
Tuesday, March 5, Norris to Madison, Norris to Canyon Village
Friday, March 15, all remaining groomed roads
At Mammoth Hot Springs, the Gift Shop, Ski Shop, and food services will close Sunday, March 3. The Mammoth Hot Springs Campground, Yellowstone General Store, Post Office, Medical Clinic, the Albright Visitor Center, and self-serve fuel pumps remain open all year. At Old Faithful, Old Faithful Snow Lodge & Cabins close Sunday, March 3. The Bear Den Gift Shop, the Geyser Grill, and the Old Faithful Visitor Education Center will close Friday, March 15. Continue Reading →
Microbes found in the extreme environments of Yellowstone National Park thermal features are key to a major financial investment in a new form of protein that could find its way into commercial foods within a few years. Sustainable Bioproducts, a biotechnology company developing a new way to grow edible protein, announced last month that investors have pledged $33 million toward commercializing a process that has its roots in a Montana microbiologist’s research into tiny organisms that thrive in the hot, acidic waters of Yellowstone. A Silicon Valley-based venture fund, 1955 Capital, was among the major investors in Chicago-based Sustainable Bioproducts, which also has offices in Bozeman, Mont. Another backer is Breakthrough Energy Ventures—whose investors include Microsoft founder Bill Gates and Amazon’s Jeff Bezos. Sustainable Bioproducts is developing a fermentation process that aims to produce a protein with high nutritional value, while having minimal environmental impact, according to a statement released by the company. Continue Reading →
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Yellowstone National Park will be one of 17 popular parks raising entry fees by $5 starting June 1 to $35 per vehicle. The move by Interior Department follows an earlier proposal that would have more than doubled entry fees to pay $70 per vehicle for visitors at Yellowstone, the Grand Canyon, Yosemite and other major parks. That plan by Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to steeply hike visitor fees was widely criticized by lawmakers and governors of both parties. The $5 fee hike, also taking effect in Grand Teton National Park, will also be imposed in other western parks, including Zion, Bryce Canyon, Mount Rainier, and Rocky Mountain parks, among others. National Park Service officials said the increased entrance fees remains would help ensure a quality experience for all visitors. Continue Reading →
CODY, WYO. — A controversial preliminary proposal to team a major corporate sponsor with Yellowstone National Park in an effort to revive interest in backcountry camping may be over before it has even started, after objections from an unexpectedly high-level opponent. Documents reviewed in late March by a number of news agencies detail a draft framework being considered that would govern an agreement between Yellowstone and online retail giant Amazon.com. The partnership would leverage the popularity of the Amazon Prime two-day delivery service to help novice hikers and campers better navigate the backcountry. But growing objections from President Donald Trump over Amazon’s business practices have cast doubt on whether the proposal will move forward. Continue Reading →
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A commercial guide leading a group of kayakers in Yellowstone National Park died Wednesday after attempting to rescue a client who capsized in the frigid waters of Yellowstone Lake. Timothy Hayden Ryan Conant, 23, from Salt Lake City, Utah, died after rangers responding to a cal for help found in the water in the West Thumb area of Yellowstone Lake, according to a statement released by the park’s public affairs office. One of nine kayakers being led on the trip by three guides had capsized, and was rescued by other guides while Conant was also attempting to assist. Guides brought the client to short before rangers arrived on scene to help Conant. The client was transported to the park clinic and treated for hypothermia. Continue Reading →
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MAMMOTH HOT SPRINGS, WYO. – After a day of searching for a missing hiker, crews in Yellowstone National Park on Friday found the body of man who park officials believe died following a fall. Jeff Murphy, 53, from Batavia, Illinois went for a day hike June 7 on the Rescue Creek Trail near the park’s North Entrance. The park initiated the search on June 8 when Mr. Murphy’s wife reported that he failed to check in. Murphy’s death appears to have resulted from a fall on Turkey Pen Peak, according to a statement released by the park’s public affairs office. Continue Reading →
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Bicyclists willing to brave the unpredictable elements of spring in Yellowstone National Park can now travel 49 miles of newly plowed park roads from the West Entrance at West Yellowstone, Mont., to Mammoth Hot Springs, Wyo.
There is no bicycle access to Old Faithful or Canyon until the first interior park roads open to public motorized vehicle access on Friday, April 21.
A bicycle trip into Yellowstone this time of year is not to be undertaken lightly. The quickly changing weather can be challenging. Snow and ice may still cover sections of road. Tall snow banks may line roads and pullouts be may be snow packed.
Bicyclists are required to ride single file and follow all other rules of the road. Cyclists should expect to encounter and yield to snowplows or other motorized vehicles operated by park employees or construction workers traveling in conjunction with park operations.
Bicyclists should be prepared to encounter bears, bison, elk, wolves, and other wildlife at any time. Continue Reading →
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Grand Teton National Park’s Teton Park Road between the Taggart Lake Trailhead and Signal Mountain Lodge has been cleared of snow and is now open to non-motorized recreational uses such as walking, bicycling, and rollerblading. Recreationists should be alert for park vehicles that periodically travel this roadway for administrative purposes as spring opening operations continue. Road crews may be clearing auxiliary roads and wayside areas, and visitors are cautioned to keep a safe distance from rotary plows and other heavy equipment. Recreationists are cautioned that snow and ice may persist on some sections of the roadway creating slick conditions. Dogs are permitted on the Teton Park Road, according to a statement released by the park’s public affairs office. Continue Reading →
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Spring is officially a few days away, but after a bearish winter, the first grizzly of the season has been spotted in Yellowstone National Park.
Early Wednesday morning, March 15, a park employee observed a grizzly bear between Mammoth Hot Springs and Tower-Roosevelt, according to a statement released by the park’s public affairs office. It is the first confirmed bear sighting this year, although bear tracks have been observed since February 22. Later in the morning, park staff saw two more grizzly bears scavenging carcasses in the northern part of the park.
When bears emerge from hibernation they look for food and often feed on elk, bison and other animals that died over the winter. Sometimes, bears will react aggressively while feeding on carcasses.
All of Yellowstone National Park and much of the surrounding area is bear country. Continue Reading →