winter use

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Yellowstone taking permit applications for self-guided snowmobile tours

Commercial snowmobile guide John Davis leads visitors through Yellowstone National Park during a 2007 day trip.

For the first time in more than a decade, winter visitors to Yellowstone National Park will have a chance to tour the park by snowmobile without using a commercial guide. The National Park Service announced this week that it is accepting applications for non-commercially guided snowmobile trips. The program will be run as a lottery through a federal public lands website where prospective visitors may select their preferred dates and submit an online request. Continue Reading →

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New contracts bring changes to Yellowstone winter tour business

The business landscape for winter tour operators in Yellowstone National Park saw a shake-up this week as the National Park Service awarded a series of concessions contracts that will remain in effect for the next decade. Some longtime snowmobile and snow coach operators were selected to continue guiding winter visitors into Yellowstone, while many others with decades of experience were not among those awarded new contracts. Continue Reading →

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Success of winter season varies by park gate counts

Even as they look forward to the coming summer season for Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks, tourism leaders and businesses are also reflecting on visitation numbers for the recently concluded winter season. Statistics for winter recreational visitors from December through February show visitation for the two parks came in pretty close to last winter. Continue Reading →

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A frigid winter trip through Yellowstone’s Upper Geyser Basin

Old Faithful Inn is visible in the background as winter travelers in Yellowstone National Park head out for a trip to Black Sand Pool.

My husband Ken and I have made a point of visiting Yellowstone Park in the winter for a number of years. This year we were accompanied on a February trip by four friends from Cincinnati who had joined us on one previous winter trip several years ago, when temperatures were much warmer than normal. This year, they had expressed the desire for more winter-like conditions. It turns out they were not disappointed. Continue Reading →

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Ski trip across Yellowstone reveals unique sounds of winter

Derek Collins takes in the view while skiing across Yellowstone National Park.

There are sounds in Yellowstone National Park that can only be heard in the winter, away from the snow machines and out of the snowcoaches. They are the squeak of cold snow underfoot and the whispered rhythm of skis pushing and gliding. They are the gurgle of thermal features and the splash of water descending from the air and returning to geyser pools, sounds too meek to hear above the din of throngs of people in summer. Continue Reading →

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Yellowstone seeks participants for winter use working groups

Yellowstone National Park’s has begun work on a collaborative Adaptive Management Program designed to collect scientific information and public input to continually monitor, evaluate and improve the park’s new winter-use management strategy. The National Park Service will hold a conference call Jan. 22 to launch five working groups that will focus on winter travel in Yellowstone. Continue Reading →

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Yellowstone and Grand Teton open for winter season

The winter season kicks off today in Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks, as entrances open to snow coaches, snowmobiles, skiers and hikers along the snow-covered roads through both parks. A mix of travel and recreational activities are allowed on different roads and trails in both parks. Visitors are reminded to come prepared by carrying personal emergency survival equipment in their vehicles and dressing appropriately for outside activities in extremely cold weather. Continue Reading →

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Yellowstone invites proposals for winter tours by snowmobile, snow coach

The National Park Service has released a prospectus soliciting proposals from businesses interested in providing guided, interpretive over-snow vehicle tours of Yellowstone National Park. A total of 23 new contracts will be awarded and put into place for the 2014-2015 winter season. They will take the place of 13 concession contracts for guided interpretive snow coach tours and 21 commercial use authorizations for guided interpretive snowmobile tours currently in place in Yellowstone. 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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Yellowstone winter-use public meeting set for Nov. 22 in Bozeman

A skier watches elk in the Upper Geyser Basin of Yellowstone National Park.

Yellowstone National Park is working to develop a collaborative adaptive management program to evaluate the implementation of its new winter-use management plan. A public meeting to discuss the program will be held on Nov. 22 in Bozeman, Mont. Park officials say that collaborative adaptive management is a strategy widely used in other complex conservation programs, and will allow the National Park Service to gather more information about park resource conditions through scientific monitoring and to seek additional public input. Continue Reading →

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