sylvan pass

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Yellowstone snow coaches switching from tracks to tires

CODY, WYO. — Heavy spring snowfall this week caused Yellowstone National Park managers to temporarily close some entrances, and motorists in parts of the park were told snow tires were required for entry. But having the right tires for snow in Yellowstone isn’t just an unexpected issue for some spring travelers—it’s also shaping up to be one of the biggest changes to winter travel in the park in years. The 2016-17 winter season was the fourth year the National Park Service has allowed snow coaches to use large, low-pressure tires instead of tracks, and the first winter with enough heavy snow to truly test how the tires perform in the most challenging conditions. With a majority of Yellowstone snow coaches using tires instead of tracks this past winter, the tires are getting favorable reviews from visitors and tour operators, said Christina White, a concessions management specialist for Yellowstone. Continue Reading →

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Sylvan Pass in Yellowstone temporarily closed

The road over Sylvan Pass on the east side of Yellowstone National Park was temporarily closed Friday afternoon as crews worked to remove unexploded ordinance left behind as a result of avalanche mitigation work done, presumably during the previous winter. According to a statement from the park's public affairs office, the ordinance was found Friday afternoon near the roadway over Sylvan Pass, and the closure was expected to last a few hours while a team from Malmstrom Air Force Base near Great Falls, Mont. responds and destroys the shell. Continue Reading →

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Reservation period begins for self-guided Yellowstone snowmobile trips

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

The week before Labor Day hardly seems like the ideal time for contemplating a winter trek through Yellowstone National Park. But Tuesday, Sept. 1 is a key date for anyone planning to travel through Yellowstone by snowmobile as part of a self-guided group. That's the first day to submit applications online for the lottery system that allocates spots in the self-guided tour program. Under a newly implemented winter-use plan, last winter was the first season since 2003 that allowed sledders to tour Yellowstone without a commercial guide. Despite relatively warmer temperatures and sparse snow, winter recreational visits park-wide increased by 14 percent over the previous year. Continue Reading →

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Yellowstone east entrance open to snowmobiles

Commercial and non-commercially guided snowmobiles and all types of snow coaches may now travel from the park’s East Entrance over Sylvan Pass to Fishing Bridge Juction. Due to various road restrictions in place, travelers should consult the current road conditions online.. Road status can change with little warning due to adverse weather conditions which could require temporary road closures to all oversnow travel. Continue Reading →

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Yellowstone ranger recognized for actions on Sylvan Pass

Yellowstone National Park Ranger Brad Ross was recognized Monday at the National Parks Day luncheon in Cody for an award he received recognizing valor in the line of duty. Business people and tourism representatives applauded the ranger upon learning he was one of 17 park system employees from across the nation honored by Interior Secretary Sally Jewell with the Valor Award. Continue Reading →

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Early Yellowstone visitors delayed by Sylvan Pass avalanche control

A great blue heron searchers for food near Trout Creek in Yellowstone National Park.

Early visitors to Yellowstone National Park may sometimes wish they could stay a little longer. And some of the first people touring the park by auto this year got their wish Friday, as a closure of Sylvan Pass stopped traffic on the park's East Entrance road for a few hours. Park officials temporarily closed the 1.5-mile stretch of road between the East Gate and Fishing Bridge to allow for avalanche mitigation. Continue Reading →

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Yellowstone’s East Gate may see slides, closures

Early travel through the East Gate of Yellowstone National Park could be complicated by snow slides as warm weather sets in. Park officials advised Thursday that deep snowpack above Sylvan Pass has the potential to release large, heavy, wet snow slides which can reach and cover the road, especially under sunny, warm conditions. Continue Reading →

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Bringing Out the Big Gun: Yellowstone stations howitzer atop Sylvan Pass

Yellowstone National Park maintenance worker Eric Holdren works last month to prepare a howitzer for use this winter in avalanche mitigation along Sylvan Pass. (Ruffin Prevost/Yellowstone Gate)

Shortly after the partial federal government shutdown ended last month, two Lake District maintenance workers performed an annual fall duty that most visitors to Yellowstone National Park never get to see, and is part of one of the park's most controversial management practices. Snow had already begun to pile up on Sylvan Pass by mid-October, requiring workers to clear a road to the platform where a 105-mm howitzer cannon is used each winter to blast snow from Hoyt Peak and Avalanche Peak on the north side of the pass. Continue Reading →

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2 die in Yellowstone-Teton area avalanches as region sees new snowfall

Two people were killed in separate avalanches over the weekend, according to information released by the Bridger-Teton National Forecast Avalanche Center. Two backcountry skiers in separate areas were killed Sunday after being caught in small avalanches, the center reported Monday. The center issued an advisory bulletin for areas of Teton, Lincoln and Sublette Counties in Wyoming and for the Teton Area, Continental Divide/Togwotee Pass Area and the Southwest Trails Greys River Area. 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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