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Yellowstone East Gate opens Friday despite budget cuts, late snow

Despite a series of budget cuts that delayed National Park Service snowplows and a round of spring snow that moved through the region early this week, the East Gate to Yellowstone National Park is set to open Friday. Wyoming communities in Cody and Jackson chipped in to cover the cost of snow removal along much of the park's south and east entrance roads, ensuring on-time openings for those gates. Continue Reading →

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Locally funded Wyoming crew begins plowing Yellowstone East Entrance Road

Several tons of heavy equipment rumbled to life at the East Gate of Yellowstone National Park on Monday, as workers began what is expected to be a month-long effort to remove snow on the road between the park's eastern boundary and Fishing Bridge. Road workers rarely begin their day to a round of applause like that heard on Monday, but they also typically aren't driving rigs sporting promotional banners and flags positioned in easy view of a group of waiting reporters and local officials. Continue Reading →

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Wyoming towns meet fundraising goal for plowing Yellowstone roads on time

Crews work earlier this spring to plow Sylvan Pass, the highest point along the east entrance road into Yellowstone National Park. (National Park Service photo - click to enlarge)

Two small Wyoming tourist towns at the edge of Yellowstone National Park are celebrating successful fundraising efforts to cover the cost of plowing part of the roads leading into the park, assuring an on-time opening for their gates this spring. The chambers of commerce in Cody and Jackson have confirmed that they have raised enough money to move forward with a plan to pay for Wyoming Department of Transportation personnel and equipment to assist in snow removal inside Yellowstone's east and south gates. Continue Reading →

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Wyoming towns consider raising private funds to plow Yellowstone roads on time

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)

The Internet has proven to be a popular way to crowdsource funding for everything from new tech gadgets to independent film projects, but could it also be a way to raise money to get snowplows moving so Yellowstone National Park will open on time? That's at least one idea being considered by local business leaders in the Wyoming gateway communities of Cody and Jackson. Continue Reading →

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Cody to launch ‘Spring Into Yellowstone’ birding and wildlife festival in May

Working with a wide range of partners, the Cody Country Chamber of Commerce is launching Spring Into Yellowstone, a birding and wildlife festival that will include guided trips, interactive forums and a trade show May 15-19. Much of the event will focus on bird-watching and photography, as organizers aim to tap into a national community of 48 million self-identified birders who spend more than $35 billion annually on the hobby, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Continue Reading →

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Yellowstone Superintendent Dan Wenk wins praise for outreach on winter use

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

As another winter season in Yellowstone National Park begins, it might be understandable if some local residents are pessimistic about resolving long-standing disputes over snowmobiles in the park and other related winter-use issues. Local tourism workers and environmental advocates have had front-row seats to more than a decade of public debate and court challenges over the effects of snowmobiles in the park, as well as whether to maintain access over Sylvan Pass, at the park's East Entrance. But surprisingly, gateway community business leaders are expressing optimism—even satisfaction—with the direction park managers are taking on winter use. And not just because the most recent draft plan calls for continued snowmobile access and keeping Sylvan Pass open. Continue Reading →

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Yellowstone entrance gate cameras aid in arrest of kidnapping suspect

Surveillance cameras at entrances to Yellowstone National Park were instrumental in helping authorities identify and arrest a man suspected of kidnapping a young girl last week. The suspect, a Montana photographer who frequents Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks, had been captured on video visiting Yellowstone the day before the incident. Continue Reading →

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Cody tourism business leaders seek renewal of 4 percent lodging tax

Business leaders in Park County, Wyo. are backing renewal of a 4 percent lodging tax that helps fund visitor centers and promote the area as a tourist destination. (Ruffin Prevost/Yellowstone Gate - click to enlarge)

Business leaders in the Yellowstone National Park gateway community of Cody, Wyo. are working to convince Park County voters to renew a 4 percent lodging tax, and they're taking steps to make sure the measure isn't confused with a separate and unrelated sales tax that is also on the Nov. 6 general election ballot. Lodging taxes collected in Park County, including at properties inside Yellowstone Park, generated nearly $1.6 million in 2011 revenues used to promote the area as a tourist destination, and backers say those funds are needed to continue growing the local tourism industry. Continue Reading →

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Yellowstone Park road projects see mixed progress as winter closures approach

Traffic in 2012 moves along a single lane of the then-damaged road between Sylvan Pass and Fishing Bridge in Yellowstone National Park.

With just under six weeks until most roads in Yellowstone National Park close to autos for winter, a section of road near Tower Junction is being rebuilt for the first time in decades, while a damaged stretch of road east of Fishing Bridge will not be repaired this fall, as had been planned. The road from Tower Junction to a barricade just north of the Chittenden Road turnoff on Dunraven Pass has been closed for the season to allow for a major reconstruction project, according to a statement released by the Yellowstone public affairs office. Continue Reading →

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Year-to-date Yellowstone and Grand Teton visitation up slightly through August

A crowd watches from the porch of the Irma Hotel in Cody as three villains are shot in a mock gunfight. (Ruffin Prevost - Yellowstone Gate file photo - click to enlarge)

Despite a stubbornly high national unemployment rate and weak economy, visitation so far this year to Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks has increased slightly over 2011, with the summer travel season ending on a relatively high note for the regional tourism industry. Though recreational visits in Yellowstone National Park were down 3.1 percent in August compared to last year, year-to-date visits were up 2.1 percent for 2012 through August. Year-to-date visits through August were up 4.5 percent in Grand Teton National Park compared to 2011, according to figures available on the National Park Service website. Continue Reading →

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