National Park Service implements mask requirement in all parks

The National Park Service announced Tuesday a nationwide mandate that all visitors, employees and contractors wear a mask inside all NPS buildings, and in crowded outdoor spaces, regardless of vaccination status or community transmission levels. “Visitors to national parks are coming from locations across the country, if not across the world. Because of this, and recognizing that the majority of the United States is currently in substantial or high transmission categories, we are implementing a service-wide mask requirement to ensure our staff and visitors’ safety,” said NPS Deputy Director Shawn Benge. The requirement will be in effect until further notice, and applies to all NPS buildings and public transportation systems. It also applies to outdoors spaces where physical distancing cannot be maintained, such as narrow or busy trails and overlooks. “Being vaccinated is the most effective way to protect yourself and your loved ones from the dangers of the coronavirus. Masking in addition to being vaccinated will help prevent the spread of new variants and protect those who are more at risk of severe disease. This simple act of kindness allows us to be safe while we continue to enjoy the benefits of our national parks,” said Capt. Maria Said, MD, an epidemiologist in the NPS Office of Public Health and a member of the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps. Continue Reading →

Yellowstone restricts fires, cites ‘very high’ danger

The parkwide fire danger level for Yellowstone National Park is considered “very high” and park managers have put Stage 1 fire fire restrictions are into effect, according to a statement released by the park’s public affairs office. Fire restrictions include:

Backcountry and trails

Prohibited: Charcoal or wood fire campfires in the backcountry, including those in established fire rings. Prohibited: Smoking in the backcountry and on all trails, except immediately adjacent to the provided fire ring in designated campsites or within a 3-foot-diameter area barren of all flammable material (e.g. standing in water, on a boat). Permitted: Portable gas stoves and lanterns in areas that are barren or cleared of all overhead and surrounding flammable materials within 3 feet. Frontcountry and developed areas

Permitted: Smoking only in:

an enclosed vehicle
a single-family dwelling
a developed campground
a day-use picnic area
within a 3-foot-diameter area that is barren or cleared of all flammable material

Permitted: Campfires in designated fire rings in frontcountry developed campgrounds (Madison, Mammoth, Slough Creek, Canyon, Indian Creek, Pebble Creek, Lewis Lake, Grant Village and Bridge Bay) and day-use picnic areas. Continue Reading →

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 →

Bears leaving hibernation around Yellowstone area

MAMMOTH HOT SPRINGS, WY – On Saturday, March 13, a pilot supporting park wildlife studies spotted the first grizzly leaving hibernation this year. From the air, the pilot watched the bear interact with wolves at a carcass in the northern part of the park. Though this is the first sighting of a grizzly bear in the park this year,  tracks have been seen on several occasions in the last two weeks. The first bear sighting of 2020 occurred on March 7, according to a statement released by the park’s public affairs office. Male grizzlies come out of hibernation in early March. Females with cubs emerge in April and early May. Continue Reading →

Grand Teton set to begin spring plowing

Grand Teton National Park will begin spring plowing operations March 22. (NPS Photo/A White)

MOOSE, WY— Spring plowing will begin in Grand Teton National Park on Monday, March 22. The plowing operations mark the end of over-snow access on the 14-mile section of the Teton Park Road between Taggart Lake Trailhead and the Signal Mountain area. For safety reasons, visitors may not access the Teton Park Road once plowing operations are underway, according to a statement released by the park’s public affairs office. Rotary snow removal equipment and plows may be working at any time, and the roadway will be closed to all users at all times until further notice. Skiers and those on snow shoes using areas adjacent to the roadway are cautioned to avoid the arc of snow blown from the rotary equipment because pieces of ice and gravel can be thrown great distances. The Teton Park Road is anticipated to be accessible to activities such as cycling, roller skating, skateboarding, roller skiing, walking, jogging and leashed pet walking within the next few weeks. The road will open to motor vehicles on May 1. Other park roads such as the Moose-Wilson Road, Signal Mountain Summit Road, Antelope Flats Road, East Boundary Road, Mormon Row Road, Two Ocean Road and Grassy Lake Road remain closed to vehicle traffic when posted or gated in the spring. These roads may close temporarily to accommodate snow removal operations. The opening dates of these roads vary from year to year and are dependent on weather, snow conditions, plowing progress, wildlife activity and road conditions. The paved multi-pathways in the park are open to use when they are predominantly free of snow and ice. Continue Reading →

Grand Teton to boost access, services after 2020 COVID restrictions

Grand Teton National Park managers are planning to offer increased access and services to 2021 visitors. NPS Photo/J. Bonney

MOOSE, WY- Summer operations in Grand Teton National Park and the John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Memorial Parkway will be modified in a manner that continues to promote the health and safety of park employees, volunteers, partners and visitors while providing full recreational access and increased visitor services compared to summer 2020. The park is working with federal, state, and local public health authorities to closely monitor the COVID-19 pandemic and will adjust operations as needed. 
The park is implementing preventive measures and mitigation actions to reduce the spread of infectious disease, according to a statement released by the Grand Teton public affairs office. Park visitor centers will be open with limited capacity and limited visitor services. Park staff will be stationed in the vicinity of most visitor centers to engage with visitors and provide information, with additional staff stationed at many outside locations such as overlooks and trailheads. Visitors will be able to obtain backcountry permits from the permit desks located in the Craig Thomas Discovery and Visitor Center, Colter Bay Visitor Center and the Jenny Lake Ranger Station. Boat permits will be available at both visitor centers, as well as online at beginning April 6. Continue Reading →

Grand Teton boat permits move to online system

A group paddles a canoe on Jenny Lake in Grand Teton National Park. (Ruffin Prevost/Yellowstone Gate file photo - click to enlarge)


MOOSE, WY- Boaters to Grand Teton National Park and the John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Memorial Parkway will have the option to purchase their park boating permits online via beginning Tuesday, April 6.   
The new online mail-order system will improve the visitor experience by allowing boaters to plan ahead and have their permit mailed directly to them within two weeks. The system allows for contactless ordering and will provide an opportunity for the park to share educational materials with visitors prior to their arrival.  
The park will continue to issue boating permits during summer operations at the Craig Thomas Discovery and Visitor Center and Colter Bay Visitor Center permit desks, according to a statement released by the park’s public affairs office. Permits are required for all boats including stand-up paddleboards (SUPs), kayaks, and canoes.  
The cost for a 2021 Grand Teton National Park boat permit increases to $17 for non-motorized boats and $56 for motorized boats. Boat permit fees help offset the costs associated with waterway patrols, aquatic invasive species inspections, and transition to online services. Continue Reading →

Yellowstone closing to over-snow travel for season

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

MAMMOTH HOT SPRINGS, WY - Roads in Yellowstone National Park will begin to close to oversnow travel March 7. Spring plowing will start as road segments close. All oversnow travel will end for the season March 15 at 9 p.m. Weather-permitting, some park roads will reopen to automobile travel April 16 at 8 a.m.

Road closure dates (gates close at 9 p.m.)

March 7, Mammoth Hot Springs to Norris
March 9, Norris to Madison, Norris to Canyon Village
March 14, Canyon Village to Fishing Bridge
March 15, all remaining groomed roads

Visitor services closure dates

At Mammoth Hot Springs, the hotel and cabins, Gift Shop, Ski Shop, and food services will close March 1. The Mammoth Campground, Yellowstone General Store, Post Office, Medical Clinic, and self-serve fuel pumps stay open all year. At Old Faithful, the Bear Den Gift Shop and Geyser Grill will close March 15. Warming hut closure dates range between March 1 and March 15. Continue Reading →

Yellowstone recruiting for 2021 Youth Conservation Corps program

Participants in the Grand Teton National Park Youth Conservation Program move a log during a trail project.


MAMMOTH HOT SPRINGS, Wyo. – Yellowstone is currently recruiting for the 2021 Youth Conservation Corps (YCC), a residential work-based education program for young men and women between the ages of 15 and 18. Visit the YCC program to apply. Completed application materials must be postmarked by March 10, 2021. A five-week session will be offered June 28-July 30. Twelve youth will be randomly selected from across the country to participate in the program, according to a statement released by the park’s public affairs office. Continue Reading →

Yellowstone switches 3 campgrounds to reservation system

MAMMOTH HOT SPRINGS, Wyo. – Beginning March 24, 2021, visitors will be able to make advance reservations at three additional campgrounds in Yellowstone National Park. Campgrounds that will change from first-come, first-served to the advance reservation system are Mammoth, Slough Creek and a portion of Pebble Creek. Reservations will go live on starting March 24 at 8 a.m. Mountain Standard Time. Visitors will be able to book campsites up to six months in advance. Continue Reading →