FaLL 2014 Headwaters of the Nation Going Global: Spreading the National Park Idea Sound the Bugle: Mammothâ€™s Elk Rut Corps Volunteers
Yellowstone Association Leadership Team Yellowstone National Park has a powerful and profound effect on people. A visit here is both inspiring and restorative. One of the beauties of this place is that it offers many opportunities to step back and reconnect with the natural world—and with one another. Through our Institute classes, Park Stores, and dynamic membership program, the Yellowstone Association helps strengthen the relationship between people and the park. The Institute offers more than 600 in-depth classes that connect people to Yellowstone; our Park Stores see more than 200,000 transactions per year; and more than 37,000 members across the world are part of our family. Our friendly staff and volunteers are here because they share your enthusiasm and passion for Yellowstone. There is no better way to immerse oneself in Yellowstone than by living and learning with us. Stay at the Lamar Buffalo Ranch or the Yellowstone Overlook Field Campus and let us show you all that Yellowstone has to offer. Please visit our website or call us at 406.848.2400 to learn more about the fall and winter opportunities offered at these facilities. I hope you will come and enjoy the splendor of autumn and the solitude of winter. These are spectacular times of year to explore the park, and—with summer crowds long gone—peaceful too. Whether you come with a group of friends or bring multiple generations of your family, we can create an experience just for you. Thank you for being part of a community of people who love this place and want to help preserve it for all time. We hope to see you here soon! Sincerely,
Daniel Bierschwale Director of Retail
Wendie Carr Marketing Manager
Director of Finance and Administration
Dennis McIntosh Director of Facilities
Human Resources Manager
Director of Development
Director of Education
Yellowstone Association Board of Directors Claire Campbell Board Chair
Lou Lanwermeyer Vice-Chair
Bob Shopneck Treasurer
Patty Carocci Secretary
Jeff Brown Yellowstone Association executive director
Don Ableson West Bloomfield, MI
Katie Cattanach Denver, CO
Sandy Choate Austin, TX
Gale Davis Wilson, WY
Penney Cox Hubbard Baltimore, MD
Mat Millenbach Portland, OR
Alex Perez Atherton, CA
Yellowstone’s official nonprofit education partner
Alan Shaw Big Sky, MT
Anne Young Cody, WY
What’s on the cover? Bull elk resting in Yellowstone COVER Meg Sommers / M eg Sommers PHOTOGRAPHY
Fall TABLE OF CONTE NTS
Headwaters of the Nation
Going Global: Spreading the National Park Idea
Creatures Large & Small: White Weasels and Black-Tipped Tails
NPS Q&A: Bob Fuhrmann Youth Program Manager & Volunteer Coordinator
Yellowstone’s Quiet Season
Sound the Bugle: Mammoth’s Elk Rut Corps Volunteers
Naturalist Notes: Wings Over Yellowstone
Yellowstone Quarterly 1
By Stephen Camelio
Headwaters of the Nation This year, visitors who came to the North Entrance to the park during the spring season were likely captivated by the rushing waters below the Yellowstone River Bridge in Gardiner, Montana. A dark torrent, the river tumbled out of the park with speed and volume that hadn’t been seen in years. In fact, in late May, the gauge station at Corwin Springs measured the river at well over 20,000 cubic feet per second (CFS). Though this didn’t best the record of more than 30,000 CFS recorded during the flood year of 1997, May 2014 was well above the 30-year historical median value of about 10,000 CFS in terms of high point discharge for the time of year. It wasn’t just the Yellowstone River that carried tons of water out of the park this spring. Thanks to a plentiful snow year—with both the upper and lower Yellowstone River basins receiving above 150 percent of normal snowpack—all the rivers in the park ran high and wild this year as snow melted and filled the park’s waterways with icy cold water. In addition to rafters who love to ride rollicking waves and photographers who enjoy capturing the area’s many spectacular waterfalls, an abundance of water in the rivers during spring in Yellowstone is also a welcome sight for the entire United States. Located high above sea level and situated on the Continental Divide, the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE) is a natural aqueduct uniquely positioned to supply water to large swaths of the country. In fact, the GYE is home to the headwaters of an impressive list of rivers including the Gallatin, Madison, Clarks Fork, Wind/Bighorn, Snake, Green and, of course, the Yellowstone. Given that the Yellowstone River, at 671 miles, is the longest undammed river in the lower 48 states, and that these rivers stretch into multiple states and course through countless communities, it goes without saying that they provide much needed water to local residents and farmers. And the effects of Yellowstone’s snowmelt have even more far-reaching implications. The water in rivers and streams leaving the park and its surroundings eventually all—either directly or as tributaries to larger rivers—dump into three of the four largest river systems in the continental United States: the MissouriMississippi, the Green-Colorado, and the Columbia-Snake.
The Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem is home to the headwaters of an impressive list of rivers including the Gallatin, Madison, Clarks Fork, Wind/Bighorn, Snake, Green, and the Yellowstone.
With these waterways and their branches touching over half the country, it is easy to see why the GYE has been called the “headwaters of the nation.” Furthermore, the 2013 Yellowstone National Park “Vital Signs” report states that all the park’s waters are classified Outstanding Natural Resource Waters for their exceptional ecological significance and water quality.
A Good Year
But years like this one, where high snowfall totals lead to an abundance of water, are becoming the exception, not the rule. “We have these cycles of good snow years and not good snow years, and this was a big year,” says Ann Rodman, Yellowstone’s Branch Chief for Physical Resources and Climate Science, who studies weather, climate change, and snow accumulation in the GYE. “But, looking at the data from the past 35 years or beyond, the overall trend is towards a decreasing snowpack and over time these big years will become more unlikely.” This is backed up by the “2013 Vital Signs” report, which says that winters at the Northeast Entrance since 1980–as determined by the annual number of days with measurable snow on the ground –have shortened by over twenty days, or eleven percent. At Mammoth Hot Springs, since 1976, the average annual daily minimum temperature and the average annual daily maximum temperature have increased by 4.6˚F and 3.5˚F respectively. Increases in temperatures and heat waves not only mean less precipitation as snow but also faster runoff due to a shorter window of snow storage over the course of the year. According to The Greater Yellowstone Area Climate Explorer (see sidebar), historically 28 percent of the GYE watersheds have been categorized as “snow dominated,” meaning that on April 1 they still have more than 40 percent of winter precipitation stored in their snowpack. But by the middle of this century, climate models estimate that less than half of these watersheds will still be “snow dominated” on April 1.
“But years like this one, where high snowfall totals lead to an abundance of water, are becoming the exception, not the rule.”
“This change is reflected in what we are seeing as snow starts to melt earlier and faster. Now when you hit the peak snowpack you have a shorter period of time until it all melts,” says Rodman. “This will mean a dramatic change in the amount of water stored as snow and the timing and amount of snow melting the spring. This runoff supplies most of the water that the park and everybody downstream depends on throughout the summer.”
In an effort to safeguard the park’s watershed in the face of this change in climate, the National Park Service included a “water” section in their strategic plan for sustainablity designed to protect Yellowstone’s watersheds as well as the park’s natural hydrological and geothermal features and potable water supply. Some projects in this widespread conservation effort are preventative, such as increased monitoring for leaks in the park’s infrastructure. Others are more proactive, like installing an upgraded irrigation system on the 12 acres of historic lawn in Mammoth Hot Springs.
“Now we water the grass with an automated system that uses water based on current weather, not a set time of day,” says Molly Nelson, a member of the park’s Green Team and an NPS engineer who worked on this project. “So far, we’ve seen a 20 percent water savings since 2011 and eventually expect that to rise to 30 percent when the project is finished.” Park personnel are also experimenting with new technologies and design techniques to reduce the impact of paved surfaces on water resources, which entails trying out test patches of 4
Drainage basins represent the land surface area that contribute runoff to a river. Basins (or watersheds) are defined by drainage divides, which are ridges or elevated areas that determine the direction water will flow. Most of the basins in Yellowstone National Park are headwaters basins or drain pristine areas; this helps to preserve the aquatic ecosystem of the park.
Map and text reprinted with permission from the Atlas of Yellowstone (2012).
permeable pavement made either of glass or recycled tires. “By letting water seep back into the ground, these technologies allow the natural water cycle to continue undisturbed, thereby keeping it in the watershed longer,” says Nelson. From 2007 to 2013 these initiatives helped reduce water use in the park by just over 10 percent and led to Yellowstone being designated a Climate Friendly Park by the National Park Service Green Parks Plan—a program that seeks to address climate change through implementing sustainable practices in all the national parks, not just Yellowstone. The hope is that by combining water conservation with greenhouse gas emission and energy-use reductions, national parks will help spearhead an environmental protection movement that will not only protect the “headwaters of the nation” but also all the headwaters across the nation.
The GYA Climate Explorer is an educational project created in 2012 by staff from Yellowstone National Park, including Ann Rodman. The project is funded by the Greater Yellowstone Coordinating Committee (GYCC), an organization that brings together National Park Service, US Forest Service, the US Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Bureau of Land Management to manage the federal lands in Greater Yellowstone. Climate Explorer enables the public to examine climate change data—including snowpack vulnerability, precipitation, and temperature—by comparing historic (1916–2006) climate values to a future projection for the mid-century (2030–2059). View it online: Greateryellowstonescience.org/files/ Climate_program/index.html
Stephen Camelio is a freelance writer living on the Montana/Wyoming border of Yellowstone National Park. His work has appeared in Men’s Journal, Runner’s World, Field & Stream, and Fly Rod & Reel.
Yellowstone Quarterly 5
a b o l Going G
By Jenny Golding
: l a
Yellowstone is a magnet for more than 3 million visitors a year. The park is home to the largest concentration of geysers in the world, part of one of the largest intact temperate ecosystems on earth, a World Heritage Site, a Biosphere Reserve, and much more that make it a beacon for other national parks around the world. Since the establishment of Yellowstone as the world’s first national park in 1872, park administrators in foreign countries have sought out the National Park Service, and Yellowstone specifically, to learn more about the national park idea and gain skills and ideas they can use in their own parks. “Being the world’s first national park, we are in some ways the ‘world’s park,’” says Steve Iobst, Deputy Superintendent of Yellowstone. “We often hear that people in foreign countries identify more with Yellowstone than other U.S. national parks.” The National Park Service Office of International Affairs (OIA) in Washington, D.C., facilitates the sharing of the national park idea and U.S. expertise, responding to requests for assistance in all aspects of park operations, from wildlife management and tourism, to concessions and infrastructure. While many of those requests are specifically for Yellowstone, the OIA also works closely with the U.S. State Department in formal relationships with approximately 80 different countries. Iobst relates: “Requests for technical assistance cover everything from how to set up a national park service to how to design a uniform. National parks in places like Canada, New Zealand, and Australia have been around for a very long time and have well-established park systems and agencies. Other countries may just be developing their first national parks. It’s literally and figuratively all over the map.”
Yellowstone frequently plays host to international park staff. By the end of June 2014, the park had more than 21 official international visits this year, including delegations from Thailand, Venezuela, Japan, Russia, the Philippines, and several African countries. In many cases these groups are on a tour of parks and protected areas throughout the U.S., sponsored by their government or non-government conservation organizations.
Yellowstone Quarterly 7
top Yellowstone Chief Ranger Tim Reid in Kruger National Park in South Africa. middle and bottom Deputy Superintendent Steve Iobst traveled to Kunlun National Park in China.
Yellowstone National Park staff are also invited to share their knowledge abroad. In some cases—as in Yellowstone Chief Ranger Tim Reid’s recent visit to Kruger National Park in South Africa—the need is for technical expertise. Because of his specific skill set and the many similarities between Yellowstone and African parks, Reid was an invitational speaker at a wildlife security specialist workshop focused on anti-poaching technology and strategies for African protected areas. “These are huge landscapes that are relatively intact or critical parts of ecosystems, with local community issues, migratory wildlife populations that transcend jurisdictional boundaries, and ecotourism economies,” says Reid. These similarities have fostered a long history of sharing between Yellowstone and African parks. In other cases, international parks seek big picture advice on park development and management, such as Iobst’s visit to the developing Kunlun National Park in the Qinghai Province of China. The founders of Kunlun were interested in both establishing a new national park to be the first in a national system of parks and in fostering a greater conservation ethic in China. The members of the U.S. team consulted on topics related to park systems, resource protection, and tourism infrastructure. Iobst believes that “helping other countries protect unique and significant natural and cultural resources before they’re lost” is important. He also believes it is important to help parks through their individual processes without being too dominating in the American approach. “Each country is in a different stage, and it’s important to help them find solutions that work for their particular scenario.” This kind of cultural exchange is both challenging and rewarding. There are often striking differences in culture, government, and language. “The whole protected area concept in Africa is really different,” says Reid. “Their government and judiciary systems are different, as well as their societal views of wildlife.” In the U.S. there is a strong sense of public land and wildlife ownership that is not yet fully developed in other places. In the case of Kunlun National Park, there is not yet a national system of parks. A rapidly growing middle class in China is creating demand for domestic tourism and the need to create parks that protect resources as well as provide for visitation. Iobst reports that exchanges with international parks are very rewarding. The appreciation for Yellowstone staff from the parks they work with is overwhelming, and it is easy to see real progress from these consultations. It also provides affirmation for what the National Park Service does well. Wallace Stegner famously called national parks “the best idea we ever had.” NPS staff participating in exchanges with parks abroad are not just providing technical experience, but are sharing the national park idea—and the American ideals that parks represent—around the world. Jenny Golding is a former director of education for the Yellowstone Association. She currently freelances from her home in Gardiner, Montana, on the border of Yellowstone National Park.
Shop Yellowstone’s Official Park Store!
1. She Wolf DVD and Blu Ray
Emmy-award-winning filmmaker Bob Landis followed the wolf known as “The 06 Female” for three years and tells her story in this new DVD. 2014.
Member $16.99 Regular $19.99
Blu Ray #2342
Member $21.24 Regular $24.99
2. The Killing of Wolf Number Ten #2340
By Thomas McNamee. One of the first wolves reintroduced to Yellowstone in 1995, Wolf #10 left the park and was illegally shot near Red Lodge, MT. 2014. Softcover. 144 pages. Member $12.70 Regular $14.95
3. Wild Wolves We Have Known: Stories of Wolf Biologists’ Favorite Wolves #2235
White Weasels and BlackTipped Tails
Edited by Richard P. Thiel, Allison C. Thiel and Marianne Strozewski. A rare glimpse into the secret lives of wolves through the eyes of the biologists who study them. 2013. Softcover. 244 pages.
By Barbara Lee Illustration: Elizabeth Hutson
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4. Valley Girl Print #2173
By Brad Orsted. Matted print featuring the alpha female of Yellowstone’s Canyon wolf pack. 8” x 10”
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5. Wolf 712M Print #2172
By Brad Orsted. Matted print featuring the alpha male of Yellowstone’s Canyon wolf pack. 8” x 10” Member $13.55 Regular $15.95.
5 Call 406.848.2400 or visit YellowstoneAssociation.org
Your purchase directly supports Yellowstone
As fall brings snow to Yellowstone, the park’s long-tailed weasels and smaller short-tailed weasels, or ermines, change from brown to white protective camouflage— except for their black-tipped tails. Known as fearless hunters, these little carnivores are also a prized meal for their enemies. A predator may mistake the boldly marked tail for the weasel’s head and strike short, enabling the potential victim to escape. You might see this sleek, whitefurred mammal bound across a park road or clearing, then pause to rise up on hind legs and reveal an impossibly slender body, an inquisitive look, and that eyecatching black-tipped tail. Yellowstone Quarterly 9
Bob Fuhrmann Youth Program Manager & Volunteer Coordinator Division Of Resource Education & Youth Programs
Bob Fuhrmann came to Yellowstone as a college student 22 years ago and never left. During those two-plus decades he has been a wildlife researcher, park guide, volunteer, and interpretive ranger. Such diverse experience makes him the perfect education and volunteer program director for the park, because it is a role that allows him to share everything he has learned as well as his love for Yellowstone with people from around the world. HOW DID YOU FIRST COME TO YELLOWSTONE?
I volunteered for three months on a coyote research project for Montana State University doing fieldwork, including radio telemetry and collecting scat for two PhD students. Three months turned into nine months, and since then I have been fortunate enough to keep working in Yellowstone. HOW DID YOU GET INTO THE NATIONAL PARK SERVICE?
After working for a nonprofit that led research expeditions to Yellowstone, I became a seasonal ranger at the Albright Visitor Center and volunteered with Expedition Yellowstone. Eventually, I was hired into a full-time position as a lead interpreter working the visitor center information desk and conducting educational walks and talks with visitors. AND NOW YOU WORK WITH STUDENTS AND TEACHERS?
I became the education program coordinator in 1998 and have been working with youth programs since then. I do everything from hiring and training staff, to creating the programs, to connecting with teachers and working with school groups. Some of the programs we offer are Expedition Yellowstone for grades 4–8, Youth Conservation Corps for high schoolers, and, of course, we create the Junior Ranger and Young Scientist programs, which are then disseminated by the visitor center staffs. HOW DO YOU CONNECT WITH KIDS THAT CAN’T VISIT THE PARK?
We provide distance-learning programs by Skyping or offering Google hangouts with schools across the country and internationally. In three years we have reached almost 7,000 people annually around the globe. We also have our Windows into Wonderland program, a series of 10
online field trips and lesson plans for grades 5–8 that cover 17 different topics, from wildlife and history to fire and microbes. HOW IMPORTANT IS IT TO TEACH KIDS ABOUT NATURE?
I think it is very important. Connecting youth to the outdoors is something the Secretary of the Interior has been pushing for a long time. People say our youth are losing their connection to the land, and through our different education programs we hope to increase their time outdoors. We also focus on helping them understand what national parks are and what the parks preserve and protect so that they can be stewards of these places throughout their lives. DO YOU WORK WITH YA ON EDUCATION PROGRAMS AS WELL?
Yes, one project we do in conjunction with YA is teacher workshops. Through a grant to YA, an NPS instructor and a YA instructor lead a group of teachers who take what they learn back to their classrooms. Reaching out to teachers creates an exponential learning effect by spreading the knowledge base about Yellowstone even further to the hundreds of students taught each year. YOU ALSO MANAGE THE PARK’S VOLUNTEERS. WHAT DO THEY ADD TO THE PARK EXPERIENCE?
Volunteers are very important to the operation of Yellowstone. Last year there were about 500 volunteers in the park, ranging from those doing a two-hour service project to those who are here for the whole summer as a campground host or wildlife researcher. They supplement what the National Park Service is able to do, and are another means by which people connect with Yellowstone.
Wolf, Bear, and Moose Watching
By Jenny Golding
Quiet Season As September wanes and the park empties of crowds, Yellowstone enters a much quieter season. The first snows dust the mountaintops, bringing a crispness to the morning air. The aspen and willows are changing, and the land is settling in for the long winter. While quiet in terms of visitation, early winter in the park (October–December) is a season of active change. “The shoulder season is a great time to connect deeply with the rhythms of park wildlife,” says Yellowstone Association Institute instructor George Bumann. “Animals are buckling down and getting the last easily available food, and filling out their winter coats. Many species, like elk and bison, are resting and recuperating after the frenetic mating season.” Besides feeling like you have the park to yourself, there are a few particular highlights to this “shoulder” season, including excellent wildlife watching, migrating raptors, and the bighorn sheep mating season.
As the days turn colder and snow fills the higher elevations, wolf watching improves as elk prey migrate to lower elevations where food is more readily available. Rise early and search for wolves in the Lamar Valley, Blacktail Ponds, and Mammoth areas along the North and Northeast entrance roads, the main artery through wildlife habitat in the winter. This is also a good time to get the last glimpses of grizzly bears fattening up before they head into hibernation. Look for bears in high places, such as Dunraven Pass before it closes October 14. Finally, this time of year is a good time to spot moose, more commonly seen around the Northeast Entrance to the park, as their movement increases in early October during their mating season.
In early October, the skies are filled with raptors migrating from, through, or to Yellowstone. Plan to arrive in Bozeman in time for the Bridger Raptor Festival October 3–5, featuring the largest known golden eagle migration in the United States. In Yellowstone, Hayden Valley, Mount Washburn, and Lamar Valley are good places to pick a spot and watch for migrating hawks overhead.
Bighorn Sheep Rut
One of the overlooked highlights of Yellowstone’s quiet season is the bighorn sheep rut, when the air is filled with the echo of rams colliding horns in the canyons. “On TV the horns clashing sound like a ‘clack.’ In real life, it sounds like two bowling balls being crashed together,” says Shauna Baron, Institute resident instructor. The bighorn rut peaks around the third week in November, perfect for a Thanksgiving holiday in the park. Bighorn mating behavior carries on throughout the day, but early morning and late evening are your best bet if photography is on your agenda. From a base in Gardiner, Montana, spend early mornings bighorn watching in the Gardner Canyon, then plan to take a short afternoon hike on either the Rescue Creek (8 miles) or Lava Creek (3.5 miles) trail.
Important Tips for Visiting in Yellowstone’s Quiet Season
Most park roads close to wheeled vehicles November 3. Some areas, such as Dunraven Pass, close earlier. The North Entrance in Gardiner is the only park entrance open yearround. The road between Gardiner and Cooke City, Montana, remains open year-round. Early winter weather can be unpredictable, from sunny and relatively mild to very cold temperatures and snow. If traveling in your own vehicle, winter tires or excellent all-season tires are a must. Double checking park information (nps.gov/yell) to prepare proper clothing and equipment for your trip will help you enjoy what Yellowstone offers this time of year. Jenny Golding is a former director of education for the Yellowstone Association. She currently freelances from her home in Gardiner, Montana, on the border of Yellowstone National Park.
Yellowstone Quarterly 11
Sound the Bugle:
Mammoth’s Elk Rut Corps Volunteers By Wendie Carr
Elk are a common sight in Mammoth Hot Springs any time of year, but during the rut (mating season) large numbers of elk gather in the area in mixed herds—lots of females and calves, with large bulls nearby. From mid-September to mid-October visitors congregate in cars and on foot in Mammoth, hoping to hear the majestic bugle of a bull elk or witness bulls engage in battle for cows.
As Yellowstone’s autumn visitation continued to climb throughout the 1990s, the need for expanded visitor safety measures grew as well. The Division of Resource Education and Youth Programs explored options for enhancing the park’s capabilities. “Knowing that Rocky Mountain National Park had a successful program called the Elk Bugle Corps, where they brought volunteers in, we thought that would work here as well,” says North District Resource Education Ranger Brian Suderman. In 2004 Yellowstone’s Elk Rut Corps volunteer program began. Though there are many similarities, Yellowstone’s Elk Rut Corps volunteer program involves fewer volunteers than the program at Rocky Mountain National Park. The difference reflects the locations of the two parks—Rocky Mountain can engage larger numbers of volunteers drawn from the metro Denver area without needing to house them. By contrast, Yellowstone is quite distant from major population centers, which makes daily commuting unrealistic for most people, and park housing is limited. The Elk Rut Corps program typically engages six people who live in park housing and work four days a week for eight hours per day. The program lasts from just after Labor Day until the second week of October, the peak of the rut.
Though visitor and wildlife safety is a priority year-round, it takes on particular importance during the rut. Testosterone levels rise in bulls as they compete for the attention of females, and the males become easily agitated and aggressive. This can be very dangerous for visitors, as unpredictable bulls often lower their antlers to charge cars and have even been known to attack pedestrians. Other national parks that have elk in close proximity to visitors have used a variety of methods to help ensure a safe visitor experience and the protection of wildlife. Rocky Mountain National Park started a volunteer program in 1990—the Elk Bugle Corps—to help keep its park visitors safe during the elk mating season.
NPS staff in three divisions work together during the annual rut, including Resource Education and Youth Program education rangers, Resource and Visitor Protection law enforcement rangers, and resource management technicians from the Yellowstone Center for Resources. Elk Rut Corps volunteers work alongside NPS staff and interact with the public on a daily basis during the rut.
Roles of the Volunteers
Suderman notes that the role of Elk Rut Corps volunteers is “first of all, to ensure the safety of the visitors that are watching the elk. Second, to try and keep visitors from harassing elk in any way or altering the elk’s natural behavior. Third, to interpret elk ecology to visitors.”
Volunteers are trained about park regulations, elk ecology and visitor safety, as well as general information about the Mammoth Hot Springs area, so that they are able to provide
both interpretive and safety messaging to visitors. “The safety aspect is a huge, huge part of what we teach them,” says Suderman. “Training includes learning about how to keep themselves safe, and how to keep visitors safe.” Learning more about elk behavior, understanding what both the cows and bulls are doing during the rut, and knowing what to watch out for with different postures that the bulls especially might exhibit provides volunteers with the knowledge to assist the NPS with keeping visitors safe.
Special Offer for Members
Though 25 yards is the enforced minimum distance, during the rut a greater distance is often necessary. “It’s important to remember that elk are wild animals and it’s the responsibility of the visitor to maintain that distance of at least 25 yards,” says Suderman. During a six-week volunteer season, an Elk Rut Corps volunteer makes an average of 6,000 visitor contacts and issues 2,200 warnings. What is considered a “warning” is normally a safety dialogue, such as asking visitors to move back if they’re too close to an elk, and explaining the reasons for needing to stay back. Volunteers are primarily stationed in Mammoth proper, though they will travel to the campground and the Boiling River trail as elk move about the area. Campground hosts also provide assistance when needed. Now in its 11th year, many volunteers return year after year for the annual rut. Judy Oaks and her husband, Earl, have been volunteering for the past seven years and love sharing what they’ve learned with visitors. “My favorite part of my job is watching the elk and talking with people, some of whom come back every year,” says Judy. She and Earl will be back in the park this September, traveling from Townsend, Tennessee, to Mammoth Hot Springs yet again. “It’s a fun time, and I feel lucky to be able to do something I love with a great group of people.” Wendie Carr is the marketing manager for the Yellowstone Association. She began her career in Yellowstone as a volunteer.
VOLUNTEER WITH THE NATIONAL PARK SERVICE Yellowstone National Park is served by 500 volunteers throughout the year. Collectively, they help Yellowstone in a variety of ways, from enhancing visitor services to sharing specialized expertise to help protect and preserve park resources. Volunteers provide more than 90,000 hours of service to the park. For more information, or to view current volunteer opportunities, please visit Volunteer.gov
Increase your current Yellowstone Association membership and receive a free gift! The first 100 members who increase their membership by $25* will receive a Yellowstone National Park Bana™ featuring Morning Glory Pool donated by McGovern Maps. There are 12+ ways to wear the Bana™, which includes 30UPF sun protection and quick dry wicking material. Please reference code BANA14 in the comments field on our website (YellowstoneAssociation. org) or when calling 406.848.2400. *This will not be applied to your renewal or extend your expiration dates. International members are asked to upgrade at $50 due to additional shipping and handling fees.
Yellowstone Quarterly 13
N N Naturalist NoteS By Danielle Oyler, Institute Resident Instructor
Over Yellowstone Ospreys chirp as you view the Lower Falls of the Yellowstone River.
Western meadowlarks sing as you scan Lamar Valley for elusive canines.
Birds are part of the fabric of our Yellowstone experiences, and many Yellowstone birds are making long and strenuous voyages this fall. Birds migrate in order to find enough food and the right habitat to sustain them. Due to our harsh winters and the accompanying lack of food, a majority of Yellowstoneâ€™s summer birds cannot live here year-round. Some travel a few miles, others to another hemisphere, to reach good wintering grounds. Swainsonâ€™s hawks, for example, live in Yellowstone in summer and travel more than 6,000 miles each way to spend the winter in the Pampas of Argentina. Birds have many adaptations to accomplish their strenuous migrations. Hyperphagia, an increased appetite, is something we normally associate with autumn and bears in Yellowstone. Some birds also go through hyperphagia to put on more fat as fuel for long journeys. Taking advantage of wind patterns also helps birds move efficiently. Hawks, pelicans, and cranes use daytime winds. Warm air rising during the day acts like an elevator for these birds and helps them save energy
as they glide on thermals.
Most passerines, or perching birds, prefer to travel at night. Night brings calmer, cooler, and more predictable conditions for these smaller birds. These are just a few of the ways that our adaptable birds overcome the challenges of migration. This fall,
look to the skies, and you might find your own piece of Yellowstone, a migratory bird bound for its winter home.
YA Family Julianne Baker Yellowstone Association resident instructor Julianne Baker saw the mountains for the first time when she was 19 years old and instantly fell in love. Having always loved the outdoors, she completed an MA in outdoor education and taught in Michigan public schools from 1974–2001. During her tenure she taught hands-on science and outdoor programs that brought 4th, 5th, and 6th graders to Yellowstone from their Michigan classrooms. In 1991 Julianne took her first class with the YA Institute. One class turned into three that summer, and every summer after she took a number of courses. Though she had been coming to the park since 1974, it was during her first class at the Lamar Buffalo Ranch that she really fell in love with Yellowstone. “That’s when I learned that you could live here and learn something new every day for the rest of your life and still not know it all. That’s what really grabbed me,” she says.
places to take people in the park, and it gives a purpose to my wanderings and to so much of my life here in the park.” Later this summer Julianne will transition from a full-time resident instructor into a part-time position with the Institute. She still plans to teach a few field seminars, and in addition to training for the Birkebeiner (50K cross-country ski marathon) you’ll definitely find her at Old Faithful again this winter. “Any job we do affects who we are so much as humans and professionals,” she says. “YA has been really good to me. I’ve been mentored by many people here, and I so appreciate the experience. It’s been the highlight of my professional career.” If you ask Julianne, autumn is the best time for hiking — the mosquitoes and flies are gone, the days are cool, and water is low for fording creeks. Some of her favorite autumn hikes:
After working seasonally for the National Park Service in 2002, she planned to go home to Michigan for the winter. Then she received a call from YA’s program manager asking if she would be interested in teaching the winter program “Yellowstone on Skis” at Old Faithful. “I thought I’d died and gone to heaven,” she recalls. For the next few years she worked for the NPS during the fall and spring and with YA during the summer and winter. In 2004 she became the first full-time, year-round resident instructor for the Institute. What does she love about being an instructor? “I love sharing information and I love turning people on to this place and watching them fall in love with it too. I enjoy exploring new
sepulcher mountain A lovely but strenuous loop from the Mammoth Terraces to either Glen Creek Trailhead or back down to the terraces. bunsen peak A short but strenuous climb providing views of Swan Lake Flat, Mammoth Hot Springs, and Mount Everts. storm point A short, easy loop that takes hikers to the shore of Yellowstone Lake, then continues through golden fields and mature forest. hellroaring tr ail This can be any distance, though I enjoy a long hike from the Hellroaring Trailhead, fording low waters of Hellroaring Creek, and continuing on toward either Blacktail Trailhead, or out toward Gardiner on the new trail at Eagle Creek Campground.
Experience Lamar This Winter! Though most people have to commute an hour before sunrise to be in the Lamar Valley in time for all of the action, these Institute field seminars are based in the heart of the valley at the historic Lamar Buffalo Ranch. For more information about these programs, or to request a copy of our winter catalog, please visit YellowstoneAssociation.org or call us at 406.848.2400.
Holidays at Lamar
Wildlife Weekend Escape
Three programs offered
Three programs offered
November 26–30 December 13–17 December 18–22
November 21–23 March 6–8 March 13–15
Lamar Valley Wolf Week Three programs offered
December 8–12 March 2–6 March 9–13 March 16–20
Includes all meals!
Yellowstone Quarterly 15
Biennial Scientific Conference on the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem Mammoth Hot Springs • October 6–8, 2014 Registration is now open for the 12th Biennial Scientific Conference Science, Management & Conservation on the Greater Yellowstone in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE). The conference will bring together scientists, managers, and other decision makers to examine the resource 12th Biennial Scientific challenges throughout the GYE Conference on the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem from a variety of perspectives. October 6-8, 2014 Mammoth Hot Springs The goals are to exchange scienceYellowstone National Park based information relevant to management and to identify resource challenges that demand new research. CROSSING BOUNDARIES
This year’s theme, “Crossing Boundaries in Science, Management, and Conservation,” focuses on the challenges and opportunities posed by crossing environmental, disciplinary, and jurisdictional boundaries in the quest to achieve one great Yellowstone ecosystem.
Send us a photo of yourself or a fellow member holding a copy of Yellowstone Quarterly and you could be featured in an upcoming issue!
Submissi o n Guidelines
Submit photo(s) to email@example.com. For a complete list of submission guidelines please visit YellowstoneAssociation.org or contact us at the email address above.
For more information or to register please visit:
Go.nps.gov/gyescienceconference or email firstname.lastname@example.org Yellowstone Association is proud to help sponsor this conference.
Because of your membership support, we are able to help preserve Yellowstone for future generations. The benefits of your membership help you stay connected to the park you love, even from home.
A member of two years, Judd Fitze of Tunkhannock, Pennsylvania, brought his YQ to Explora Lodge in Patagonia, Chile.
Member benefits include: • Annual subscription to Yellowstone Quarterly • A free thank you gift (redeemable in-store only) • Early registration for Institute programs • Discounts at YA Park Stores (including online), Yellowstone National Park Lodges gift shops, and Yellowstone General Stores* • Discounts from cooperating associations at other national parks (proof of membership required)* • Seasonal lodging discounts from Yellowstone National Park Lodges* • Additional benefits exist for Lewis level (or higher) memberships * Exclusions apply 16
A member of 17 years, Pete Boothroyd of Billings, Montana, brought his YQ to a sidewalk café in London, England.
Thank You! We wish to acknowledge those who contributed to the Yellowstone Association between April 1, 2014, and June 30, 2014. Because of space constraints, the following list includes donors who contributed $1,000 or more. Your membership—regardless of size—plays a critical role in the Association’s mission to connect people to Yellowstone through education. Thank you for your continued support! New And Renewing Members Of The Yellowstone Society
Thank you to the following donors who joined or renewed their membership in the Yellowstone Society. Bechler $5,000 – $9,999
Casey Anderson † Jo Ann and Bert Eder Amy and William Freund Sherry and Jan Packwood Gallatin $2,500 – $4,999
Sandy and David Burner Claire Campbell and Brian Makare Chris and John Cavanaugh Sandra and Jeffrey Dunning Peggy and James Hamilton Tamara and Martin Hicks Betty and Barry Hunlock Jacqueline and Jay Lauderdale Deborah and Dale Nickels Cathy and Bill Osborn Lamar $1,000 – $2,499
Marilyn Brown and Doug Morton Karen and Kenneth Buchi Eileen and John Buckley Susan and David Covey Leslie and Thomas Croyle* Catherine and Brooks Darby Catherine and Richard Dowdell Bari and Peter Dreissigacker Mary Kay Eberle Jerry Gee* Jo Giese and Ed Warren Janet and Charles Haas Olen Kitchings Sue and Roger Lang June and Tom Lowery Barbara Martin Linda and Reid Murchison
Mason Myers Mary Beth and Charlie O’Reilly Sondra Perry Tia and Jim Roddy Alan Rothschild Janis Stroud-Bickes and Charles Bickes Anne and Andrew Suk Mary Ann and William Sullivan Susan and Richard Sweet Wouter Vanderwal Ruth and Richard Waltman Page and Pearre Williams Kathryn and Frank Yeager Business Members
Platinum $2,500 – $4,999
Xanterra Parks and Resorts® Gold $1,000 – $2,499
Advanced Electronic Design Craghoppers † Patagonia Corporate, Group and Ski Sales † Honorary Yellowstone Society
Janne and Bill Hayward Summit Society
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. To learn more about ways to give, including planned giving, please contact Stacey Orsted at 406.848.2855. Craig Connolly Cynthia Lewis Kevin Nolan Boyd Ratchye
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. In Honor of Gene Ball, Brad Bulin, Moe Cairns, Katy Duffy, Jim Garry, Jim Halfpenny, Carolyn Harwood, Carol Love, Bonnie Quinn, Tom Reed and Louis Spencer
Lynn Katon and Diedre Sevier In Memory of Mark Carvell
Karen and David Carvell In Memory of Verna Willardson Gerber
Tauck World Discovery In Honor of Professor David J. Gustafson and Gannon University Yellowstone Program
In Memory of Richard "Dick" Pate
Connolly Dittrich Emily and Mike Dorton Benjamin Dychala Karen Emshwiller Jackie and Leo Everitt Marla Farris Francine and Peter Glennon Whitney Helms Ann and William Jones Marsha and Chris Kellogg Marabeth and Mark Levett Beth and Duane Neesham William Slater Denise Solso Kim Solso Michael Solso Jeff Tuttle
In Memory of Michael Sample
Kathleen Aragon Gina Argnento Hilary Berning Bert Brandenburg Anthony Gibart Jillian Levitt Amanda Maguire Ana Munoz Jansen Po Gowri Ramachandran Meredith Russell Marguerite Taylor
In Memory of Reverend Ora Smith
Shawn and David Brevard Jutta Buskirk Irene DeArman Elizabeth Page
In Memory of Bernice Stevens
In Honor of Joyce Williams
* Yellowstone Guardian † Includes in-kind support Every effort has been made to ensure that this list is accurate and complete. We apologize if your name has been omitted or otherwise improperly reported. Please contact us at 406.848.2816 if you feel this is the case so we can correct our records.
PHOTO CREDITS: Don Andrews/YA: pg 1; karen withrow/YA: pg. 3; Shirley cope/YA: pg. 3; Glen cope: PG. 3; Suzie Garner: pg. 3; Bill Mahoney/YA: PG. 3; Dave Syfert: PG. 3; Sarah Sparrow: PG. 3; Steve Iosbt: pg 8; Tim Reid: pg 8; Steve Hinch: PG 9; Maria Bisso/YA: pg 10, 11, 12, 17, BACK PAGE
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. Fly fishing in the Gardner River Canyon.