Summer Issue 2013
Answering the Call to Action Yellowstone Chosen for Long-Term Study of Climate Change The Ups and Downs of the Yellowstone Caldera Yellowstone Quarterly i
elcome to the Yellowstone Association’s redesigned magazine, Yellowstone Quarterly! Though we have a new look, our mission remains the same — to connect people to Yellowstone National Park and our natural world through education. Our main goal in redesigning this magazine is to keep you connected to and educated about the place you love and are so passionate about. Yellowstone Quarterly will include more original content, the latest news about Yellowstone National Park, and a greater diversity of images that reflect the beauty of this magnificent place. We want to keep you informed about what is going on in the park, what the Association is accomplishing with your support, and how you can continue to be involved — even from home. As always, you will continue to receive Yellowstone Quarterly as part of your membership benefits. Thanks to your support, this year we were able to give Yellowstone National Park $779,970 in aid— the highest annual donation in the Association’s history. These annual donations support educational programs and projects the National Park Service budget alone is unable to cover. During these times of increased park visitation and reduced federal funding, this support is more important than ever. Through all of the Yellowstone Association’s educational programs and services, we seek to strengthen your connection to Yellowstone. Please stay in touch and let us know what you think of Yellowstone Quarterly. Sincerely,
Yellowstone Association Leadership Team
Daniel Bierschwale Director of Sales and Marketing
Director of Finance and Administration
Director of Education
Director of Facilities
Director of Development
Yellowstone Association Board of Directors
Board Chair West Bloomfield, MI
Claire Campbell Vice-Chair Boulder, CO
Treasurer Brasstown, NC
Patty Carocci Secretary Arlington, VA
Mark Benjamin Malibu, CA
Katie Cattanach Denver, CO
Sandy Choate Austin, TX
Gale Davis Wilson, WY
Jeff Brown Yellowstone Association Executive Director
Tom Detmer Denver, CO
Penney Cox Hubbard Baltimore, MD
Mat Millenbach Portland, OR
Alex Perez Atherton, CA
Alan Shaw Big Sky, MT
Bob Shopneck Denver, CO
Patty Washburn Yellowstone’s official nonprofit education partner
Anne Young Cody, WY
COVER BRAD ORSTED/ HORSEFEATHERS PHOTOGRAPHY
Summer TABLE OF CONTENTS
Answering the Call to Action
Yellowstone Chosen for Long-Term Study of Climate Change
Boots on the Ground
The Ups and Downs of the Yellowstone Caldera
Q&A with Kerry Gunther, NPS Bear Management Program Leader
Early Summer Wildflowers of Yellowstone
Yellowstone Quarterlyâ€‚ 1
Answering the Call to Action
Coming to Yellowstone and engaging in YA or NPS programs inevitably impacts participants for a lifetime.
A second-century National Park Service will actively engage diverse communities and strengthen partnerships to develop innovative communication and education strategies. We will embrace a larger education role, building an understanding of our country’s shared heritage and preparing American citizens for the duties and responsibilities of citizenship. — A Call to Action By Robin Tawney Nichols
The National Park Service is nearing an historic milestone, the celebration of its 100th anniversary on August 25, 2016. In 2011, National Park Service (NPS) Director Jonathan Jarvis released a document entitled A Call to Action: Preparing for a Second Century of Stewardship and Engagement. A Call to Action provides NPS employees, partners, and stakeholders with a broad vision of the agency’s goals and hopes as it looks to its second century. “America has changed dramatically since the birth of the National Park Service in 1916,” noted Director Jarvis. “The roots of the National Park Service lie in the park’s majestic, often isolated natural wonders and in places that exemplify our cultural heritage, but their reach now extends to places difficult to imagine 100 years ago—into urban centers, across rural landscapes, deep within oceans, and across night skies.” Director Jarvis presented a plan that charts a path toward the NPS’s second century organized in four broad themes (see sidebar), each with goals and actions. Superintendents were directed to select actions that best fit the purpose of their program. As he announced A Call to Action, Director Jarvis acknowledged that since there “will not be much—if any—new money in our future…we have concentrated on what can get done within current budgets and in some cases, with the assistance of our incredible partners.” 2
Focus on Youth
“They are astounded to learn that this park is theirs, and we know from their heartfelt responses that it has had a profound effect on their young lives.”
The Yellowstone Association (YA), the nonprofit cooperating association whose purpose is to support the education mission of the National Park Service in Yellowstone, is answering one of themes in A Call to Action (“Connecting people to parks”) with a focus on youth programming. YA’s five-year strategic plan, adopted in 2012, expands opportunities for organized youth groups, and continues the organization’s strong commitment to serve families and adults, including teachers, through traditional programming and field seminars. Each new program is designed to help connect more young people to parks and wild places, while helping them understand the importance of stewardship. My Yellowstone Adventure brings middle- and high-school-age students to Yellowstone to spend five days learning about its natural history, geology, and cultural history. Students interact with rangers, researchers, artists, and other people who have made careers of serving in public lands and interpreting their treasures for all to enjoy. Building on the success of a pilot program in 2012, the Yellowstone Association is again partnering with Yellowstone Park Foundation and Manchester Bidwell Corporation’s National Center for Arts and Technology to provide Park Journeys for high school students from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Brockway, Pennsylvania, and Cincinnati, Ohio. Through Park Journeys, YA reaches another non-traditional park audience by partnering with a nonprofit organization that mentors underserved youth. Through program themes focused on wellness, stewardship, arts and technology, and civic engagement, Park Journeys students develop personal strength and resiliency, as well as a commitment to public lands. “Creating future stewards is critical. Most of these children have had very little experience in the natural world, let alone a spectacular wilderness area like Yellowstone,” said YA Executive Director Jeff Brown. “They are astounded to learn that this park is theirs, and we know from their heartfelt responses that it has had a profound effect on their young lives.” In Stewardship of Public Lands, college-age groups focus on topics developed jointly by the Yellowstone Association and the American Association of State Colleges and Universities. This program helps students explore the management of resource issues on public land, including how land managers juggle differing viewpoints and the roles citizens, organizations, and agencies play in the stewardship of these lands. Students meet with agency employees and private citizens to hear various perspectives on Yellowstone’s hot-button issues, such as wolf reintroduction, bison and brucellosis, and winter use. Yellowstone Quarterly 3
Learning to become good stewards of Yellowstone’s wildlife and natural features is the focus of the National Park Service’s year-round Junior Ranger Program for ages 5 and up .
Youth and college programs are based at the Yellowstone Overlook Kendeda Field Campus in Gardiner, Montana, a property acquired by the Association as part of the Legacy for Learning campaign. Recognizing the key role that both young people and teachers play in the future of Yellowstone, the Yellowstone Association Board of Directors committed $100,000 from YA’s 2013 budget for scholarships to help students and teachers who otherwise might not be able to afford a visit to Yellowstone. The fund will support scholarships to organizations involving youth as well as scholarships to enable up to 50 teachers to participate in Institute Field Seminars. Connecting people to parks
As the world’s first national park, the NPS in Yellowstone has a long history of offering opportunities for youth, families, schools, groups, and organizations to better understand the park’s resources and management issues as well as recreational opportunities. Yellowstone National Park Resource Education Rangers serve 300,000 youth annually through in-park ranger-led programs, outreach school and community events, and distant learning activities. Learning to become good stewards of Yellowstone’s wildlife and natural features is the focus of the National Park Service’s year-round Junior Ranger Program for ages 5 and up. In 2012, 38,000 youth earned Junior Ranger patches at Yellowstone. Launched in 2006, the Young Scientist Program serves 2,300 kids each year. Participants use age-appropriate scientific methods to investigate the park’s natural resources, recording their findings in self-guided activity booklets. Young Scientist toolkits, which may be checked out at Old Faithful Visitor Education Center, help youth ages 5 and up complete outdoor activities.
Yellowstone is a premiere classroom for teachers and students who participate in Expedition: Yellowstone!, a curriculum-based residential program for grades 4-8, serving 1,400 students each year. Classes study Yellowstone’s natural and cultural resources, investigate current issues affecting the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, and promote stewardship and preservation in the park and in their home communities. “Everything students experience at Expedition: Yellowstone!— from the orientation hike, to the last lesson on the web of life, to recycling—encourages them to think about their relationship with nature,” said Barb Crosby, teacher at Roundup Central Elementary School in Montana. “I see my students becoming better stewards of our natural resources due to their experiences in Yellowstone. The Youth Conservation Corps (YCC) program allows fifty high-school students from across the country to spend part of their summer living, learning, working, and recreating in the park. YCC’s goal is to carry out needed conservation work, provide employment for young people from all social, economic, and ethnic backgrounds, and promote environmental awareness among the participants. Earning minimum wage for a 40-hour work week, students build fences, collect native seeds for restoration projects, maintain hiking trails, participate in citizen science projects, install food storage boxes in campgrounds, etc. Resource education and leadership sessions are provided daily. Evenings and weekends, the teens participate in various outdoor recreation activities. While spending time in Yellowstone, they are also introduced to the many career opportunities offered by the National Park Service. This program is sponsored by the Yellowstone Park Foundation. Grants from the Yellowstone Association further the park’s youth work programs with Groundwork USA, the Montana Conservation Corps, and the Student Conservation Association which supports A Call to Action.
A Call to Action rallies employees and partners to advance a shared vision toward 2016. As defined in the document, a second-century National Park Service:
“I’d love to work for the National Park Service,” said DJ, a 2012 YCC enrollee. “Being here for a month is not enough. I need to be here more.” Reaching beyond park boundaries, Yellowstone’s Resource Education staff visits classrooms and community events in Wyoming, Montana and Idaho. Underserved populations are especially targeted. This Yellowstone to You program also provides distance-learning opportunities through real-time videoconferencing via Skype. Distance learning programs are a core element of the NPS’s Yellowstone Science School, an evolving concept that will use a variety of tools and techniques, with emphasis on technology, to engage audiences of all ages and demographics in lifelong learning about Yellowstone as well as the richness of natural and cultural resources preserved in the 401 units of the NPS system. A Dy namic Plan for Rapidly Changing Times
A Call to Action identifies the importance of developing and nurturing lifelong connections between a younger generation and parks through a series of diverse park experiences that are as varied as the NPS units in the system, and that will change as experience and feedback spark new ideas. Coming to Yellowstone and engaging in any of these National Park Service and Yellowstone Association programs inevitably impacts participants. • Connects People to Parks and helps communities protect what is special to them, highlight their history, and retain or rebuild their economic and environmental sustainability. • Advances the Education Mission by strengthening the NPS role as an educational force based on core American values, historical and scientific scholarship, and unbiased translation of the complexities of the American experience.
“People have to care about parks in order to protect them,” says YA’s Director of Education Jenny Golding. “Unfortunately, younger generations are increasingly disconnected from not only parks but from the natural world. We believe giving young people the chance to have an educational and meaningful in-park experience is a very effective way to foster a deep and lifelong connection with the parks.” For detailed information about these and other youth programs offered by the Yellowstone Association and the National Park Service, please visit YellowstoneAssociation.org and NPS.Gov/Yell
• Preserves America’s Special Places and is a leader in extending the benefits of conservation across physical, social, political, and international boundaries in partnership with others. • Enhances Professional and Organizational Excellence by adapting to the changing needs of visitors, communities, and partners; encouraging organizational innovation; and giving employees the chance to reach their full potential.
The plan will be a living, breathing document on the path toward 2016 that will evolve as we learn together about the effectiveness of these approaches. —National Park Service To read more, visit the Call to Action website at NPS.Gov/Calltoaction
The implementation strategy of A Call to Action emphasizes choice. While some of the actions require the involvement of every park and program, most do not. Specific to Yellowstone National Park and Superintendent Dan Wenk is item number twenty-six in the document, Back Home on the Range: “Return the American bison, one of the nation’s iconic species, to our country’s landscape. To achieve this we will restore and sustain three wild bison populations across the central and western United States in collaboration with tribes, private landowners, and other public land management agencies.” Look for an update on this specific action item in an upcoming issue of Yellowstone Quarterly.
Robin Tawney Nichols is a writer and President of the Cinnabar Foundation. A longtime member of the Yellowstone Association, she lives in Missoula, Montana. Yellowstone Quarterly 5
Yellowstone Chosen for Long-Term Study of Climate Change By Ruffin Prevost
NEON tower, fully instrumented, in Sterling, CO PHOTO: NEON
Part of the appeal of visiting Yellowstone National Park year after year is seeing what has changed and what has stayed the same. New wildflowers may be sprouting in a meadow scorched by fire the summer before. A long-dormant geyser could unexpectedly come bubbling back to life. Or a familiar grizzly bear might be digging in the same spot each spring for insects and tubers. Such anecdotal observations offer the casual naturalist a glimpse of the small-scale rhythms and dynamics of life in Yellowstone. But scientists are working throughout the region to make detailed, specific, and precise measurements of how climate change is affecting the landscape over many years. In fact, a site in Yellowstone on the Blacktail Plateau near Mammoth Hot Springs has been proposed as one of 60 key monitoring stations in what is shaping up to be the largest long-term study of climate change in North America. Funded by the National Science Foundation, the National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON) will gather a wide range of data at sites spread among 20 distinct eco-climatic domains across the United States. The project, budgeted at $60 million for this fiscal year, is designed to run for 30 years or longer in an effort to help researchers track the long-term effects of climate change across the entire continent. Yellowstone was chosen because â€œIt is definitely one of the true wild-land sites in the whole country,â€? said Dave Tazik, a NEON project scientist.
Approving NEON’s proposal for Yellowstone will require an environmental assessment, with a decision expected later this year or in early 2014, Madsen said. Construction on the Yellowstone project won’t start until 2015, Tazik said, Data from the sites will become available a year or two later. Construction costs are estimated at roughly $1 million for each of the 60 NEON sites.
Under a proposal submitted by NEON planners, a 60-foot tower south of the Blacktail Plateau Road would use automated sensors to record air temperature, humidity, precipitation, air quality, soil chemistry, and other data. A separate site nearby at Blacktail Creek would record stream flow, water chemistry, water temperature, and more.
The proposed monitoring tower site will not be visible from roads or trails, but it could be connected to the electrical grid, Madsen said, depending on costs and logistics for off-grid power. Both the tower location and the aquatic site are in a grizzly bear management area, and access for researchers would be restricted during closures, just as for the public.
The two sites will give researchers a good idea of how climate change affects a pristine, high-altitude Northern Rockies habitat that is mostly undisturbed by development, Tazik said.
While data from NEON could prove helpful to Yellowstone researchers, the National Park Service has been gathering its own climate data for years. Since 2000, the Greater Yellowstone Network has been one of dozens of projects run by the National Park Service Inventory and Monitoring Program, an initiative aimed at tracking natural resource data to aid in management decisions.
Like all 60 NEON monitoring locations, the tower and stream sites will see regular visits from field researchers gathering data or physical samples from plants, soil, water, air, microbes, insects, algae, aquatic species, fish, birds, and even tufts of fur from small mammals. After the data are analyzed and verified, they will be made publicly available via the NEON website. “Our main mission is to push that data out for people to have access so they can use the information for research or any other purpose,” Tazik said. Approximately 200 research projects are conducted in the park each year. However, the NEON proposal is unique in its scope and duration, said Doug Madsen, with Yellowstone National Park’s Planning Office. “It’s rare to get a project this extensive, and the park has put a lot of time and effort into it,” Madsen said. Planning for the site has been ongoing for more than three years.
“The Mammoth weather station has 125 years of data — the longest set of weather records for the state of Wyoming — which is pretty amazing,” said Ann Rodman, resource information manager for Yellowstone National Park. “It’s really clear that the climate is changing, but the rate and magnitude of that change is not the same everywhere,” Rodman said during the Biennial Scientific Conference on the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem last October in Mammoth. “That’s why climate change science requires those valuable, long-term records,” she said. National Park Service Director Jonathan Jarvis has said, “Climate change is fundamentally the greatest threat to the integrity of our national parks that we have ever experienced.” For an increasingly urban population that may not always see the direct effects of climate change, data gathered in Yellowstone could help drive home that message. Ruffin Prevost is founding editor of YellowstoneGate.com, an independent, online news site offering community news and inside views about Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks and their gateway communities.
NEON FIELD SITES 16 - PACIFIC NORTHWEST
Core Site Relocatable Site Aquatic Site
12 - NORTHERN ROCKIES
STREON Site NEON HQ
9 - NORTHERN PLAINS 15 - GREAT BASIN
5 - GREAT LAKES 6 - PRAIRIE PENINSULA
17 - PACIFIC SOUTHWEST 13 - SOUTHERN ROCKIES 14 - DESERT & COLORADO PLATEAU SOUTHWEST
18 - TUNDRA
10 - CENTRAL PLAINS
7 - APPLACHIANS & CUMBERLAND 2- MID PLATEAU ATLANTIC 8 - OZARKS COMPLEX
11 - SOUTHERN PLAINS 19 - TAIGA
1 - NORTHEAST
3 - SOUTHEAST
4 - ATLANTIC NEOTROPICAL 20 - PACIFIC TROPICAL ©2011; Produced by NEON, Inc.
NEON domain map graph: NEON
Yellowstone Quarterly 7
Boots on the Ground By Stephen Camelio
A common statistic heard around Yellowstone is that 98 percent of visitors never venture 100 yards from the road. For those who want to be among the lucky few that become acquainted with the wonders of the park’s backcountry, Institute resident instructor Robin Park recommends some hikes sure to fit your vacation and experience level. FAMILY Moose Falls [.25 miles round trip]: From a parking area near the south entrance, this short, flat jaunt brings you to a small, yet captivating, waterfall. “The wet, flat area is great moose habitat, and if you don’t see any animals you can always take a dip in the swimming hole,” says Park.
BEGINNER Yellowstone River Picnic Area Trail [up to 4 miles round trip]: Not far from Roosevelt Lodge, only a short climb on this trail separates you from majestic views of the river and Calcite Springs. “You can see some neat things, like formations of columnar basalt and calcite pillars,” says Park. “And since you just follow the ridge, you can make it as long or short as you want to.”
INTERMEDIATE Washburn Hot Springs [10 miles round trip]: Take the Seven Mile Hole Trail and then branch to the north toward Mount Washburn, and in 4.8 miles you’ll encounter this backcountry thermal area. “It’s cool to see these hot springs in their natural state,” Park says. “But remember to stay on the trail and remain a safe distance from the springs.”
LONG Black Canyon of the Yellowstone [up to 23 miles round trip]: This desert-like sagebrush area leads to untamed sections of the Yellowstone River. “There’s the option to take the steeper Hellroaring Trail or the longer, flatter Blacktail Trail to the Yellowstone River Trail,” reminds Park. “Remember, unless you are staying at YA’s Overlook Campus, this is currently an out-and-back.”
ADVANCED Sky Rim Trail [21 miles round trip]: An ambitious and strenuous day hike in the park’s less-visited northwest corner, the 2,000-feet elevation gain presents a real alpine experience. “The view of Electric Peak and 360-degree panorama of the park and Gallatin area are amazing,” Park says. “It also makes for a great backpacking trip.”
Sunscreen/Sunhat High altitude makes sunburn worse. And because it can be cooler high up,
visitors underestimate how much sun they are getting. If you forgo a hat, don’t forget to put sunscreen on exposed parts of your scalp.
Bear Spray Expensive, but worth the investment. Although not required by law, the National Park Service requires people doing fieldwork to carry bear spray, and I support that.
PACKING PRIMER When you get out of the car, what are the essentials you should put in your daypack? Institute instructor Robin Park has insider gear tips so that you are prepared for all that the backcountry has to offer.
Water/Filter Due to the altitude and arid landscape, bring more than you think you’ll need. I carry a minimum of two liters if I am going a couple miles or more. In the wetter parts of the park, a filter can lighten your load. All water in the park should be treated due to waterborne diseases. First-Aid Kit I include matches, duct tape, toilet paper, and zip-lock baggies because — well — you just never know. And remember: if you use anything, pack out what you pack in. Headlamp Even on a day trip, it’s good to have. Clothing The layering system works best, because the weather here is so unpredictable.
Synthetics and lightweight wool that are warm and that wick sweat are ideal. Cotton is not. A rain jacket can help when afternoon thunderstorms hit.
Maps I always carry them. Waterproof topos, like the National Geographic series, are great because they have clear mileage markings on trails and feature backcountry campsites. Trekking Poles Great if you need assistance with balance, are doing steep downhills, or
Stephen Camelio is a freelance writer who lives on the Wyoming/Montana border of Yellowstone National Park. 8
are exploring off-trail.
Shoes Sturdiness and ankle support are key. Whether you go for lightweight or heavy duty, make sure to break them in before you get here.
Be Yellowstone Prepared Don’t brave the elements alone — gear up with essentials from our Park Store.
Eclipse hat $32.00 ($27.00 for YA members)
Men’s Silver Ridge plaid shirt $60.00 ($51.00 for YA members)
Women’s Silver Ridge plaid shirt $55.00 ($46.75 for YA members)
2013 Resources and Issues Handbook $16.95 ($14.40 for YA members)
Rescue Me balm $19.95 ($16.64 for YA members)
Yellowstone Wildlife in Transition $8.99 ($7.64 for YA members)
Canvas field bag $29.95 ($25.45 for YA members)
Yellowstone map bandana $8.99 ($7.64 for YA members)
Call 406.848.2400 or visit YellowstoneAssociation.org
Summer Camp for Grown-Ups Join us this September at Roosevelt Rendezvous, a four-day program offered September 6, 10, and 14. The historical Roosevelt Lodge sits in the center of Yellowstone’s northern range, where you can enjoy the arresting bugle of elk among the fall colors of aspen, willow, and cottonwood. During the day, choose from a variety of full- and half-day field trips, including hiking options, led by Institute naturalist guides. Convene in the lodge each evening for buffet-style dinners and entertaining evening programs.
$759 double/$897 single occupancy — includes all meals and lodging!
Yellowstone Quarterly 9
Those who live near the world’s largest explosive volcano have grown accustomed to reports that the ground within this giant volcanic caldera is going up and down. Perhaps we have become complacent, but we don’t change our weekend plans when we hear that the ground has gone up a bit, and we don’t run for the hills at reports of thousands of small earthquakes. These phenomena are routine and normal for the Yellowstone volcano.
By Robert C. Thomas, Ph.D
The volcanic collapse structure known as the Yellowstone caldera was produced when a large quantity of viscous, gas-charged rhyolite magma erupted as clouds of ash and pumice around 639,000 years ago. The amount of material ejected was 1,000 times larger than the 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens. The void produced at the top of the magma chamber caused the ground to collapse and form a semi-circular depression, a caldera, 45 miles (73 km) long and 29 miles (47 km) wide. More than 30 subsequent lava flows filled much of the caldera, making it hard to see the depression. The last flow erupted around 70,000 years ago, but the recent volcanic silence belies the continued dynamism of the region. Monitoring of elevations in and around the Yellowstone caldera show that it is restless. For example, a large football-shaped area between Old Faithful and Canyon Village uplifted about 3.3 feet (1 meter) between 1923 and 1984. This may not seem like much, but at an annual rate of more than 0.5 inches (1.3 cm), it is faster than your fingernails grow. The uplift was significant enough to tip the water in Yellowstone Lake, drowning the southern shore. After a swarm of small earthquakes, the bulge began to subside, dropping a total of 8 inches (20 cm) between 1985 and 1995. Dr. Robert Smith of the University of Utah refers to these movements as the “living, breathing caldera.” In an article published in 2012 by the U.S. Geological Survey, geoscientists Daniel Dzurisin, Charles Wicks, and Michael Poland summarized the history of the ups and downs of the Yellowstone caldera since the first geodetic or ground elevation measurements were made in 1923. The advent of Global Positioning System (GPS) and Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR) technologies greatly enhanced the ability to measure surface movement within the caldera since those early surveys. Scientists now have a better understanding of what might be causing the ground movements. The InSAR technology is particularly useful in monitoring small-scale changes in ground elevations of volcanoes. It works by combining satellite images of the Earth’s surface to show 10
are able to escape the caldera, possibly as a result of earthquake swarms breaking a subsurface seal in the rocks, they migrate to the north. The caldera subsides as the northern rim of the caldera rises. If the fluids escape the northern rim region, possibly by migrating along faults that extend to the north, that area subsides.
Robert C. Thomas, Ph.D., teaches geology at the University of Montana Western and is the co-author of Roadside Geology of Yellowstone Country.
Gardiner Gardiner Mammoth Hot Springs
MONTANA MONTANA WYOMING WYOMING
Cooke City Cooke City
Old Faithful West Thumb
3 Yellowstone Lake
14 16 20
When the caldera floor began to rise in 2004, the bulge near the northern rim started to subside, showing the connection between the two areas. Uplift of the caldera floor paused by September 2009, and was followed by an intense earthquake swarm near the northwest rim of the caldera in the early months of 2010. Since then, the entire caldera floor has been subsiding.
E Riv er
It is thought that uplift across the floor of the caldera occurs when basaltic magma from the Earth’s mantle is injected. The magma appears to be injected at depths of 3 to 6 miles (5 to 10 km) near the Sour Creek Dome in the northeastern corner of the caldera. Through complex interactions between the magma and overlying rhyolite and hydrothermal fluids, the floor of the caldera rises when the magma is injected and subsides in its absence. When fluids
Map showing caldera rims of the Yellowstone Plateau volcanic field, including the 639,000-year-old Yellowstone caldera. — Fritz and Thomas, 2011
Ye l l o w s t
InSAR and GPS surveys of the Yellowstone caldera show that, although the ground movements are complex, patterns do emerge. It is now known that the ground around the northern rim of the caldera near Norris Geyser Basin also “breathes.” When it rises, the ground across the caldera floor subsides. This pattern started in 1995 and continued until 2002, when the movements stopped. Then, in July of 2004, the caldera floor began uplifting at an extraordinary rate of about 2.7 inches (7 cm) per year — a rate more than three times faster than any recorded period of inflation, catching the attention of the national press.
Continued observations using GPS and InSAR technologies will no doubt lead to a better understanding of what is going on below the boardwalks in Yellowstone National Park. As fascinating as the idea of another mega eruption may be, don’t cancel your weekend plans because of the ups and downs of the Yellowstone caldera. According to Dzurisin of the U.S. Geological Survey, “There is no reason to believe that we are here at a special time, so what we are learning is simply how this caldera behaves normally.”
W YO M I N G
centimeter-scale movements of the ground over spans of days to years. Unlike GPS and other techniques that rely on measurements at a few points and can take a great deal of time and risk to record, InSAR safely and efficiently produces spatially complete maps of changes in the ground surface with tremendous accuracy.
20 miles 20 km
welded ash flows
Yellowstone Quarterly 11
Q & A with Kerry Gunther, National Park Service
Though it has always been a priority in Yellowstone, with two bear-related fatalities in 2011, the National Park Service has changed its bear-safety messaging and how it communicates those messages to the public. Kerry Gunther, Yellowstone’s Bear Management Program leader, spoke with Yellowstone Quarterly about the new directives and how to safely recreate and vacation in bear country. WHAT IS THE BIGGEST ISSUE YOU FACE IN GETTING YOUR MESSAGE OUT? Because we only have one injury for about every 3.5 million visitors, a lot of people think it will happen to someone else. It can be really hard to get people to change behavior when the risk is so low, even if the consequences are so severe. That’s the case with bear attacks. HOW HAVE YOU CHANGED THE MESSAGING? We replaced the signs at the entry stations originally done in 1940s and ’50s. We replaced those really wordy signs that were hard to read. The new, simpler signs say: “Be Bear Aware” and “Food Storage Required.” Preventing bears from getting human food and garbage is still the foundation of our bear management program. The new signs make people aware that this area is different, and they have to behave differently—in case they didn’t realize this is not a drive-thru zoo. WHAT ABOUT IN THE FIELD? We’ve always had bear signs at trailheads that explain how to prevent bear encounters and how to react in an encounter. But again, they’re pretty detailed. Although we’ll continue to use those signs, we have designed a new sign that reads: “BEAR ATTACK: ARE YOU PREPARED TO AVOID ONE?” It then gives five basic actions that can significantly reduce bear attacks:
Are you Prepared to Avoid One?
BE ALERT MAKE NOISE CARRY BEAR SPRAY AVOID HIKING ALONE DO NOT RUN During a surprise encounter - slowly back away If the bear charges - stand your ground & use your bear spray If the bear attacks during a surprise encounter - play dead If the bear persistently stalks you then attacks - fight back If a bear attacks you in your tent – fight back
There is no guarantee of your safety in bear country
≈ Hiking in groups of three or more ≈ Being alert for bears — a lot of people tend to daydream or wear music ear-buds ≈ Making noise ≈ Carrying bear spray ≈ Not running from a bear
WHAT IF YOU CAN’T AVOID AN ENCOUNTER? Bear attacks are a complex, fluid interaction. The bear is reacting to you and you’re reacting to the bear. There is no simple way to respond, but there are five main points for a surprise encounter. First, slowly back away. Then, if the bear charges, stand your ground, and use bear spray. If the bear makes contact, we recommend playing dead. But if the bear is persistently stalking you and acting in a predatory manner, then fight back and do not play dead. Same goes for an attack in a tent at night. HOW IS BEAR SPRAY BEST USED? If the bear is within 60 feet and charging, use the spray. First, remove the safety clip, then aim slightly downward so the bear can’t run underneath the spray. If there is a crosswind, spray upwind so it drifts in front of you. The goal is to put up a big cloud that the bear has to pass through. If the bear continues to charge, empty the can into the bear’s face. HOW CAN YOU LEARN HOW TO USE BEAR SPRAY? If possible, buy an inert can and practice, because an encounter happens so fast you want your actions to be instinctive. The park’s Interpretive Division hopes to offer bear-spray demos for the public at visitor centers again this summer. Our webpage gives links to videos about bear-spray usage. We also have QR codes for smartphones to bring visitors directly to online bear safety information. We are also exploring creating smartphone apps. WHAT ABOUT THE PARK’S FAMOUS ROADSIDE BEAR JAMS? Along with keeping bears from getting human food and garbage, these are our biggest management challenges. When bears become habituated to the presence of people, they’ll feed in roadside meadows with hundreds of people watching them. We ask people to stay in or near their cars, don’t leave the roadway, and use pullouts to view bears. Most of all, don’t surround bears or walk out into the meadows toward the bears.
THE PARK SIDE
George Bumann, M.S., has a degree in wildlife ecology and works as a professional artist and educator.
Can you give us a quick update on Yellowstone’s bears? The population has gone up slightly from 593 grizzlies in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem in 2011 to 610 in 2012. In addition, the area occupied by grizzly bears has increased from approximately 36,000 km2 in 2004, to 50,000 km2 in 2010. We are expecting 2013 to be a big year for cubs, because we’ve had two back-to-back really good white bark pinecone production years. But that also means we are expecting lower cone production this year. If we have a lot of females with cubs, we could have encounters this fall.
STAND UP FOR YELLOWSTONE Thanks to your membership support, the Yellowstone Association was able to make its highest ever annual donation to Yellowstone National Park this year.
p h oto: Tom Mur p h y
Take your membership to the next level by becoming a Yellowstone Guardian, a special group of Yellowstone Association members who provide critical help to the park through monthly donations of at least $10.00. Enrolling in the Guardian monthly giving program is a sustainable way to show your support for Yellowstone. With your “paperless” membership, you won’t receive paper mailings from us to renew your membership, helping to reduce the cost of paper, postage, and other resources. Please call 406.848.2400 or visit YellowstoneAssociation.org to join or upgrade your Guardian membership.
Yellowstone Quarterly 13
Early Summer Wildflowers in Yellowstone By Danielle Chalfant, Institute Resident Instructor; Illustration by Tah Madsen
“Camp out among the grass and gentians of glacier meadows, in craggy garden nooks full of Nature’s darlings...Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees.” — John Muir Muir knew how exhilarating it is to find yourself among the wildflowers of Yellowstone. Anyone and everyone can enjoy this yearly gift. Knowing some of the flowers in Yellowstone will make your walks even more enjoyable. Summer months yield a vast array of flowers that can vary in elevation, habitat, and from year to year. The following are a few species that you can easily learn to identify. The joy of wildflowers is that there is always more to learn. Enjoy these beauties and remember to leave them where you find them.
Sticky geranium (Geranium viscosissimum) can be found in dry open fields as well as some shaded sites. Look for striking pink or magenta flowers with darker veins visible in their five petals. Be sure to feel the stems of this plant to understand its namesake. Look for this flower on the Glenn Creek trail in June. Yarrow (Achillea millefolium) in Yellowstone has small white “flowers”
surrounding a pale yellow center. They are members of the composite (or sunflower) family. Composites are a conglomeration of many small flowers. When you look at a single “sunflower” you are actually looking at hundreds of tiny flowers. What we call a petal on a sunflower is, in fact, a single flower. The same is true of yarrow. The leaves of this plant resemble a tiny fern. Yarrow grows throughout the summer in Yellowstone and can be found in open meadows. Look for this flower on the Garnet Hill trail in June. Yellow Glacier-lily (Erythronium grandiflorum) is found in moist, shaded-to-open sites. Often found where snow is receding. These flower heads “bow” down and have a rich brown stamen, a beautiful contrast to their bright yellow petals. Bears love to eat glacier-lily, so remember to be alert when you see this plant along the trail. Look for this flower on the Ice Lake, Cache Lake, and Wolf Lake trails in June.
Registration for winter 2013–2014 Field Seminars begins July 10 at 8:00 a.m. MST for members; July 17 at 8:00 a.m. MST for non-members
Winter Institute Field Seminars
Join us this winter for a Lamar Valley Wolf Week, a yoga and ski weekend retreat, a winter photography session, or any of a wide variety of programs. Download or request a copy of the Institute catalog at YellowstoneAssociation.org. Register any time for Private Tours and Lodging and Learning programs.
Beyond Yellowstone Members of the Yellowstone Association are among the most passionate people in the world when it comes to national parks. They travel far and wide to immerse themselves in vast landscapes, abundant wildlife and unforgettable adventures. Through the power of photography, we invite you to share with us how you connect to Yellowstone through Yellowstone Quarterly. With nearly 35,000 members supporting Yellowstone, we want to showcase where our members are while reading Yellowstone Quarterly. Send us a photo of yourself or a fellow member holding a copy of Yellowstone Quarterly, showing where you are, and you could be featured in an upcoming issue of the magazine. When you pack your bags or put on your hiking shoes — be sure to bring Yellowstone Quarterly and a camera with you! submission guidelines • Submit photo(s) to members@yellowstoneassociation. org, along with the location and a description. If you have a story that accompanies the photo, please attach a Word document. • Photo(s) showing the recent issue preferred, though we also welcome images with any of our covers.
Director of Development Stacey Orsted kicks off Beyond Yellowstone at the historic Roosevelt Arch.
• Photos should be digital, high resolution, and at least 300 dpi at roughly 5”x7”. JPEG or TIFF files only, please. We are not able to accept mailed submissions.
• Please include your name, address and phone number, names of participants in photo, and location. • No altered photos please. • Use your imagination! Featured photos will be chosen based on creativity and originality. • Submission of photo(s) includes permission for Yellowstone Association to use the images in Yellowstone Quarterly, on the YA website, or on our Facebook page.
YA Community Destination Yellowstone Sales Associate: Laurren Haydon I grew up living in Mammoth Hot Springs and surrounding area, and most of my childhood memories involve Yellowstone. I learned how to ride a bicycle at Pebble Creek Campground, and hid amongst cottonwoods in Lamar Valley — waiting for feisty bison to move out of the area. I heard some of the first wolves howl after they were reintroduced to the park. Yellowstone greatly shaped my childhood, and it continues to do so today.
I enjoy talking with visitors who are on their way to or from Yellowstone. They are always excited, and they have stories and photos to share with us. I love being able to hear firsthand about the experiences and adventures they had in the park.
I worked seasonally for the National Park Service for six summers before joining the staff of the Yellowstone Association, working at both the North Entrance and at the Mammoth Backcountry Office in the Albright Visitor Center. I joined the staff of Destination Yellowstone in December 2011, when the store first opened. This was the perfect opportunity to keep my Yellowstone connection, work for a great organization, and fulfill a desire to live in Bozeman.
Because of Destination Yellowstone’s location, we’re able to connect with people who might not have known that Yellowstone National Park was so close. We have the opportunity to educate a wider audience about Yellowstone and the Yellowstone Association.
Destination Yellowstone sees people from all over the world, just like our other Park Stores, but the people coming through the Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport are not necessarily just Yellowstone-bound. We talk to people who are traveling to Glacier National Park, skiing at Big Sky, doing business in Bozeman, or visiting family in the area.
Yellowstone Quarterly 15
Your support in actionâ€Ś
83% Education and Research
7% Management and General
10% Fundraising Expenses
Because of your support, this year we were able to give Yellowstone National Park the highest annual donation in the Associationâ€™s history. Eighty-three cents of every dollar we spend goes directly to education and research in Yellowstone. Thank you for supporting Yellowstone through your Yellowstone Association membership!
Thank you to all our special patrons New and Renewing Members of the Yellowstone Society
The Yellowstone Society recognizes preservationists who annually support the Association at $1,000 or higher through memberships and philanthropic contributions. Thank you to the following donors who joined or renewed their membership in the Yellowstone Society between January 1, 2013, and March 31, 2013. Your annual support plays a critical role in the Associationâ€™s mission to connect people to Yellowstone through education.
The Summit Society recognizes those individuals or families that have included the Yellowstone Association in their estate planning to ensure the preservation of Yellowstone for future generations.
Falls $10,000 - $24,999
Mark Benjamin Bechler $5,000 - $9,9999
Marguerite and Tom Detmer Robin Tawney Nichols and William Nichols L amar $1,000 - $2,499
Janet and Jack Roberts Evelyn Rose and Sharon Nadeau* Marilyn and Jay Sarles Diane and Joseph Stemach* Dorothy Suggs Bernard Sussman* Catherine Symchych Janice and Leon Thompson Martha Thompson* Dee and Jay Welch* Norma and Kirk Westervelt* Jonna and Doug Whitman* Anne Young and James E. Nielson Debora and Jim Zug
Tammy and James Bonds* Rhonda Boggess and Mike Rogers* Wendy and Jeff Brown* Joy Carlough* Grace and John Cogan* Matt Collett* *Yellowstone Guardian Jeanne and Dave Collins* Dina Duckworth and Honorary Wayne Pleasants* Yellowstone Society Gloria and Ross Edwards Special thanks to the following Jeri Edwards members who made cash or Maurie and William Gray* in-kind contributions of $1,000 Julia and Martin Goding* or greater between January 1, Janet and Charles Haas 2013, and March 31, 2013. Jean and Joseph Hedrick* Beth and Dick Josephson* Albert J. Fierer Trust Steven Kadish John Harvey Mimi and Khalil Kingsbury* MJC-A World of Quality Katherine Korba and Ray Laible* Joy and Gerald Moore Marian Labeck and James Petts* Onelia Lazzari Business Members Sue Light and Boyd Ratchye Special thanks to the Paul and Nanci Limbach* following business members Denise and Alton McKnight* who supported the Mr. and Mrs. Pierre Merlin* Association at $1,000 or higher between Linda and Mathew Millenbach* January 1, 2013, and Mr. and Mrs. David Moore* March 31, 2013. Rita Myers Richard Orlowski* Gold $1,000 - $2,499 Esperanza Rebollar* AlphaGraphics Darren Rhinehart National Wolfwatcher Coalition
Lynn Bart Jeane Burlein Claire Campbell & Brian Makare Stephen and Lara Compton Jerry and Shirley Cormier Ed and Kathy Fronheiser
Kathleen Haines Frank Hensing Dennis and Jayne Poydence William Ryerson Robert & Catherine Shopneck Anonymous (4)
Special Tribute Donors Special thanks to the following donors who made a contribution to the Yellowstone Association as a tribute to someone special in their lives between January 1, 2013, and March 31, 2013. in honor of Edith Cofrin
Janet Mainor in honor of GEOPIG
Dr. and Mrs. Everett Shock in honor of Bill VanWieringen
Kristi VanWieringen in memory of James and Margaret Beach
Jerry and Catherine Bass in memory of Stephen Cole
Jessie McNiven Taggart in memory of Bob Flather
Allen Hard and Marjorie Siegel in memory of Dr. Charles Jarvis
Rebecca Berryhill in memory of Lily
Carla Whitaker in memory of Thomas McArthur
Ken Fisher and Electra Jubon in memory of Jean Ryle
Christine Cole Friend of Yellowstone Kevin Ryle in memory of Kristin Siemann
Peter and Lee McGurl Robert Oâ€™Connell Katherine Scott Eleanor Vuono Nellie Yannarella in memory of Toni Tomek
Victor Henken Gary and Debra Honeycutt Mark and Carla Keegan Tamara Klimas Bill Loughrige Timothy and Kristi McFarlan Larry and Lindy Mersserly Bill Morgan Christine Morrison Roger and Joellyn Nusbaum Greg and Lani Stava Phillip and Peggy Zink in memory of Glenn and Nola VanWieringen
Kristi VanWieringen in memory of Earnest Ramey Whitehead
Charles Jeffery in memory of Robert Wilkinson
Mr. and Mrs. Stephen Wirth
Jennifer Bendery Cynthia Bilyj Elizabeth Lake Garden Club
PHOTO CREDITS NPS: PGS. 2-4, 12; NEON: PGS. 6-7; BISSO/YA: PGS. 8-9, 15; DAVE SYFERT/YA: PG. 9; TOM MURPHY: PG. 13; MIKE KAUTZ/YA: PG. 14; JONMIKEL PARDO/YA: PG. 16; BACKCOVER: KAREN WITHROW/YA
Yellowstone Quarterly 17
Stay Connected — Join the Community! Whether you are in the park or at home, we can help you stay connected to Yellowstone. Visit our website for current reports from the field or a live view from our Roosevelt Arch webcam. Subscribe to our monthly E-Newsletter and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for daily park updates.