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Gateway towns gearing up for 2016 Park Service Centennial

Bill Berg, president of the Greater Gardiner Community Council, speaks in front of the Roosevelt Arch during the Gardiner Gateway Project kickoff event Thursday. Joining him on stage were, from left, Daniel Bierschwale, President, Gardiner Chamber of Commerce; Clara Conner, Division Engineer, Western Federal Lands Highway Division; Marty Malone, Commissioner, Park County, Mont.; Brian Schweitzer, Governor of Montana; and Dan Wenk, Superintenden of Yellowstone National Park. (Ruffin Prevost/Yellowstone Gate - click to enlarge)

With winter still firmly entrenched across Yellowstone country, some tourism industry leaders are already planning a few special events for the summer. That's the summer of 2016. The National Park Service celebrates its centennial in 2016, and is planning special events and observations across the country, including at Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks. Gateway towns are gearing up as well, looking to capitalize on what is likely to be an increased focus on national parks during the centennial year. Continue Reading →

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Yellowstone, Grand Teton would see boost under proposed budget

Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks could benefit from spending increases in a budget proposal released Monday by President Barack Obama that calls for an additional $432.9 million for the National Park Service in 2016, much of which would be spent to repair facilities and infrastructure in national parks for the 2016 centennial of the Park Service. While the budget proposal is almost certainly dead on arrival in the Republican-controlled Congress, the nation's parks could see some bipartisan support for a plan that would benefit more than 400 Park Service properties spread across the country. 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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Many options for ‘giving back’ to Yellowstone during holidays

The Yellowstone Park Foundation funds a range of programs and projects, including a long-term effort to reduce lake trout populations in Yellowstone National Park.

As Christmas fast approaches and shoppers are working through their gift lists, one organization is reminding supporters of Yellowstone National Park that it's a great time of year to consider giving a little something extra to the world's first national park. Based in Bozeman, Mont., the Yellowstone Park Foundation offers donors a range of holiday gift ideas, with proceeds helping fund what backers call "the margin of excellence" in how Yellowstone's resources are protected and shared with the public. 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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Park gateway communities sound alarm over effects of automatic budget cuts

The Roosevelt Arch greets visitors at the north entrance to Yellowstone National Park. (Flickr photo by Pete Zarria - click to enlarge)

Gateway communities around Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks are sounding the alarm over what could be cuts in visitor services and shortened seasons if Congress fails to resolve a dispute over planned automatic spending cuts. With just over a week until the March 1 deadline for scheduled across-the-board budget cuts known as a federal sequester, tourism industry leaders in Wyoming and Montana are letting elected officials know how National Park Service budget constraints could affect their communities. Continue Reading →

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Grand Teton Superintendent Mary Gibson Scott briefs Jackson Hole officials on summer plans, construction projects

Grand Teton National Park Superintendent Mary Gibson Scott said the government shutdown is "devastating to morale."

Grand Teton National Park Superintendent Mary Gibson Scott had a construction hard hat sitting on the table next to her during a presentation last month for local elected officials. It wasn't just a prop, as Scott and other National Park Service employees had just moved into their recently completed new office space in Moose, and a range of construction and improvement projects are in the works for this summer and beyond. Grand Teton has a $193 million deferred maintenance backlog, Scott told Jackson Hole area elected officials in her annual briefing of the park's upcoming summer season. "We're gradually correcting it over time," she said. "But it's a continuing effort." Continue Reading →

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