Posts tagged: Yellowstone
NATIONAL PARKS — Making a winter visit to Yellowstone National Park will be easier this season with a new shuttle service between Bozeman and Mammoth Hot Springs.
Yellowstone National Park Lodges, operated by Xanterra, says the shuttle will start on Dec. 18 with the winter season opening of the Old Faithful Snow Lodge. The opening of the Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel is set for Dec. 20. The lodges provide the only wintertime accommodations within the park through March 2.
Except for the road from Gardiner, Mont. to Cooke City, Mont. via Mammoth Hot Springs, transportation within the park is limited to snowmobiles and enclosed heated snowcoaches during the winter. Snowcoach transportation is available daily to a variety of park locations. Xanterra also offers a wide range of half- and full-day snowcoach, ski and snowshoe tours and ski and snowshoe rentals as well as expert instruction and other services.
The new shuttle will depart Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel daily at 9:15 a.m. and arrive at the airport at 11:15 a.m. For guests remaining in Bozeman, the shuttle will drop them off at a local hotel. Visitors who spent the previous night in Bozeman will board the shuttle at the Holiday Inn at 1 p.m. The shuttle will return to the airport to pick up arrivals for a 1:45 p.m. departure back to the Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel in Yellowstone.
Rates are $51.50, plus taxes and fees, each way for riders age three years and up.
Call toll-free: (866) 439-7375.
WILDLIFE WATCHING — Here's another take on that spectacular wildlife watching opportunity posed in mid-September by the death of a bison 400 yards from a road in Yellowstone Park.
In the YouTube video above, Deby Dixon — who took a videography course at Spokane Falls Community College from S-R photographer Colin Mulvany — captured an instructive wildlife moment as a wolf nips a yearling grizzly cub in the butt.
Wildlife biologists say this is not uncommon. An Alaska biologist described the same practice to me as he was explaining wolf behavior.
Wolves learn and survive by observing, testing the waters and pushing the limits. Even among grizzlies, wolves are quick enough to get away with murder.
WILDLIFE WATCHING — A dead bison 400 yards from a main road in Yellowstone National Park in September provided the rare opportunity for visitors to see five grizzly bears — rare in itself — and five gray wolves vying for meals off the same carcass at the same time.
I was there, underarmed in dim light with a slow 300mm lens on my camera, but thoroughly enjoying the spectacle through spotting scopes with another 100 or so specators parked along the road between Gardiner and Cooke City.
Other photographers, including Pete Bengeyfield of Dillon, Mont., scored memorable shots, such as these two, using 600mm telephoto lenses and 1.4x extenders.
When I watched the proceedings, all of the grizzlies — the boar as well as the sow and her three yearling cubs — were on the carcass at the same time. It appeared to me that the boar and sow had made rare peace because the five of them had a better chance of keeping the wolves at bay.
Read Bengeyfield's perspective and see more photos in this story from the Billings Gazette.
Click continue reading (below) to see another photo here.
WILDLIFE — It's time to start packing your bear spray again.
Grizzly bears are emerging from their winter dens pretty much right on schedule.
This photograph comes this week from Yellowstone Tour Guides, which has quite an assortment of photos showing the park's wildlife winning and losing the struggle to survive winter.
WILDLIFE — A major elk herd that migrates between Yellowstone National Park and Montana is still in a decline that’s reduced the population by 80 percent in 20 years.
Scientists from the park and the Montana Department of Fish Wildlife and Parks said the Northern Yellowstone elk herd is down 6 percent this winter, to 3,915 animals.
The herd peaked at about 20,000 animals in 1992. That was just a few years before gray wolves were reintroduced to the Yellowstone area from Canada after being absent from the region for decades.
Also taking a toll on the herd have been hunters, other predators including mountain lions and bears, and harsh winters.
WILDLIFE ENCOUNTERS — Every year we read about a tourist in Yellowstone National Park being hurt or killed by a bison.
The park warns people to give bison plenty of distance; change course if necessary; leave them alone because while they're amazing creatures they're also unpredictable and dangerous.
The same goes with moose we see around the Inland Northwest, and even mountain goats (see previous post).
The incident in this video won't make headlines because nobody was hurt. But if the child being chased had tripped, it would be a different story.
This was really stupid, especially since adults are involved.
FISHING — A week after an unrelenting heat wave forced Montana to put restrictions on three rivers, Yellowstone Park officials have announced they're closing fishing on portions of three rivers because of unusually warm water temperatures.
Starting Wednesday, park officials will prohibit fishing on the Gibbon River below Gibbon Falls, Firehole River below Keppler Cascades, and the Madison River.
Last week, Montana restricted fishing to early-day hours before 2 p.m. on the Smith, Dearborn and Sun Rivers.
The reason is water temperatures ranging into the high 70s — too warm for trout. Warm weather, hot water from thermal features and low stream flows all are causing the water to warm up.
Warm water can be stressful or even fatal for trout.
Yellowstone officials say the forecast calls for more warm weather and that could cause additional areas to be closed to fishing.
BICYCLING — Here’s another sign of springtime in Yellowstone National Park: Portions of the park have opened to bicycling.
The park has closed to snowmobiles for the winter but has yet to open to motorized vehicles for the summer.
In the meantime, bicyclists can travel between West Yellowstone, Madison, Norris and Mammoth Hot Springs, although not to Old Faithful or Canyon.
Park officials say bicyclists should be well prepared for weather that can quickly change to severe snow, ice and cold. Potentially dangerous animals including bison and grizzly bears are out and about and no services are available.
Yellowstone officials say anybody bicycling in Yellowstone this time of year should be ready to endure winter conditions for an extended period and be able to rescue themselves if necessary.
PREDATORS — It looks as though someone has killed another wolf with food.
A ranger at Yellowstone National Park has killed a gray wolf that repeatedly had come close to people in recent months.
The first case of this sort occurred in 2009, when park officials carried out their new management plan to eliminate any wolf that showed aggressive behavior or even too much friendliness toward people.
Park spokesman Dan Hottle says the 110-pound male wolf had come within a few feet of visitors and park staff on several occasions since this summer. Efforts to haze the wolf away from populated areas had proved unsuccessful.
Hottle says a ranger killed the wolf with a rifle on Saturday. The wolf was estimated to be between two and four years old and Hottle says park staff were concerned it might demonstrate more aggressive behavior.
Hottle says the park staff never saw anyone feed the wolf but believed it was conditioned to human food because it was following people. Feeding animals is a violation of park regulations.
NATIONAL PARKS — A grizzly bear killed a hiker today on a popular trail in the Yellowstone National Park backcountry. It's the first fatal bear mauling in the park since 1986, officials said.
Park spokesman Al Nash said it appears the man and his wife surprised a female grizzly and her cubs this morning, the Associated Press reports.
Nash said investigators have been interviewing the woman about the bear attack, which took place close to Canyon Village, near the middle of the park. He said authorities aren’t prepared to release the man’s name, age or hometown and likely won’t release more details until Thursday.
Nash said park officials haven’t taken any action against the bear, which he described as a sow with cubs.
Read on for details.
BICYCLING — Bicycle riders have a few weeks to enjoy Yellowstone National Park before it opens to motorized, wheeled vehicles next month.
Crews at Yellowstone are clearing snow off the roads and the park is scheduled to open to motorists on April 15. Until then, bicyclists who are willing to brave the elements can tour the park under their own power.
The road between West Yellowstone, Madison, Norris and Mammoth Hot Springs will be open to bicycle travel for the next three weeks. Park officials say the northwest section of Yellowstone typically receives less snowfall than the rest of the park. There is no spring season bicycle-only access to Old Faithful or Canyon.
Riders must be prepared to encounter bears and other wildlife and should expect winter weather conditions.