Yellowstone Quarterly Spring 2014

Page 1


S PR I N G 2014 Yellowstone’s Hydrothermal Heritage Opening the Roads: Spring Plowing Hank Heasler and Cheryl Jaworowski, Yellowstone’s Geologists

“Partnership”means a lot to us at the Yellowstone Association (YA).

It’s a big part of who we are and what we do. Since 1933 we have worked with the National Park Service (NPS) to meet the educational needs of visitors to Yellowstone National Park. We also collaborate with other agencies and organizations to benefit Yellowstone. For many years we have worked closely with Xanterra Parks & Resorts®, the concession company that was recently selected by the NPS to continue their service within Yellowstone. Their 20-year contract means Yellowstone’s hotels, restaurants, gift shops, and activities will be in good hands for many years to come. If you have been to Yellowstone, you have seen them in action.

What you may not know is that together we operate the award-winning Lodging and Learning program. During the day participants explore the park with naturalist guides from the YA Institute. Each evening they enjoy great meals and comfortable accommodations at park hotels operated by Xanterra. We work hard to make Lodging and Learning programs flow seamlessly for Yellowstone visitors. In fact, this unusual collaboration between a nonprofit and a concession company is now a model for other public land partners. Once again, Yellowstone is in the vanguard of innovation across the National Park System. It’s a big job to provide visitor services in a place like Yellowstone. It’s also a tall order to provide educational opportunities for the number of visitors the park sees each year. The National Park Service in Yellowstone is charged with managing a flagship park that does all of this well. By working together as partners, we leverage our strengths to provide the best possible experience for park visitors. All of us here in Yellowstone look forward to welcoming you back to the park again soon!


Jeff Brown Yellowstone Association executive director

Yellowstone’s official nonprofit education partner


Yellowstone Association Leadership Team Jeff Brown

Executive Director

Daniel Bierschwale Director of Sales

Wendie Carr Marketing Manager

Roger Keaton

Director of Finance and Administration

Dennis McIntosh Director of Facilities

Kathy Nichols

Human Resources Manager

Stacey Orsted

Director of Development

Ken Voorhis

Director of Education

Yellowstone Association Board of Directors


02 06 08

Beyond Wildlife: Yellowstone’s Hydrothermal Heritage Xanterra Awarded 20-year Yellowstone Concession Contract NPS Q&A: Hank Heasler and Cheryl Jaworowski, Yellowstone National Park’s Geologists


Creatures Large & Small


Opening the Roads: The Coveted Job of Snow Plowing


Off the Beaten Path: Lesser-Known Thermal Features


Naturalist Notes: Hibernation


YA Family

Claire Campbell Board Chair

Boulder, CO

Lou Lanwermeyer Vice-Chair

Brasstown, NC

Bob Shopneck Treasurer

Denver, CO

Tom Detmer

Assistant Treasurer

Denver, CO

Patty Carocci Secretary

Arlington, VA

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

Alan Shaw Big Sky, MT

Anne Young Cody, WY

16 Membership Yellowstone Quarterly  1

By Mike Quist Kautz

Hot Springs of the Yellowstone by Thomas Moran (1872)



Yellowstone’s Hydrothermal Heritage

Over the past century Yellowstone National Park has become as well known for its wolf packs, grizzly bears, and bison herds as for its thermal features. If one conducts an informal survey of park visitors and asks “What brought you to Yellowstone?” the answer is as often “Wildlife!” as it is “Old Faithful.” To visitors from an increasingly urban world, seeing an elk browsing is as miraculous as a geyser spouting boiling water 130 feet into the sky. Yellowstone Park Historian Lee Whittlesey explains that this was not always the case. 2

“Yellowstone is now a unique pocket of wildlife, but people may not realize that wildlife played no role in the creation of the park. In 1872 it simply would not have been unusual to see elk, grizzlies, bison, and wolves. There were other great rivers, canyons, and mountains in the West. But what no other place had were the thermal features. The park was created to protect the geysers and other hydrothermal phenomena.”

Early Encounters

The unique geology of Yellowstone has drawn humans for more than 11,000 years. Archeologists have discovered tools and ceremonial objects quarried from the park’s Obsidian Cliff in locations as far away as Mexico and the Ohio River Valley. Whether drawn to quarry obsidian, hunt, or trade, Indian tribes from the Great Plains, the Great Basin, and the Northwest Plateau all used the area. Oral histories from some associated tribes of Yellowstone describe ceremonial and religious visits to thermal features, and the Sheep Eaters band of the Shoshone used hot springs to soften sheep horns for bow construction. European Americans had been on the North American continent for more than two centuries before they became widely aware of the unusual landscape near the headwaters of the Yellowstone River. The first European Americans in the region came in search of beaver pelts and most were handier with a skinning knife and gun than with a pen and paper. For the first half of the 1800s, descriptions of hydrothermal activity were mostly delivered as stories to incredulous audiences at trapper rendezvous and around trading post campfires. Only a few written descriptions of the area exist from the fur trapping years between 1820 and 1840. Instead, it was oral narratives like Jim Bridger’s that remained the most common source of information for new arrivals to the West. In the 1860s a new wave of explorers arrived seeking gold, silver, copper, lead, and coal. The influx of miners into the region meant more people heard the tales of boiling pools and erupting geysers. Some went to verify the sites themselves and recounted tales of steaming springs and brimstone creeks. These firsthand accounts were retold in mining camp saloons and often dismissed by those with formal education as tall tales. However, the stories were so persistent that they began to catch the attention of territorial officials and businessmen.

Expeditions Begin

It wasn’t until 1869, however, that these rumors catalyzed the chain reaction of expeditions that culminated in the creation of the world’s first national park. In September of that year Montana miners David Folsom, Charles Cook, and William Peterson visited many of the park’s highlights including the Lamar Valley, Tower Fall, the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River, the Upper and Lower geyser basins and Yellowstone Lake. The map and magazine article Folsom and Cook collaborated on helped inform the Washburn-Langford-Doane expedition of 1870. Following his 1870 expedition Langford embarked on a speaking tour sponsored by the financier and Northern Pacific Railway backer Jay Cooke. While in Washington D.C., Langford spoke before an audience that included Ferdinand Vandeveer Hayden.

As the geologist-in-charge of the United States Geological and Geographical Survey of the Territories, Hayden’s curiosity was piqued by Langford’s descriptions of geysers, mudpots, and fumaroles. In the summer of 1871 Hayden led the first scientific expedition to Yellowstone to collect empirical evidence on the area’s geology and either confirm or refute all previous reports. Jay Cooke again played a pivotal background role by suggesting Hayden allow the landscape painter Thomas Moran to join a trip composed mainly of scientists and frontiersmen.

The Call for Protection

According to Whittlesey, during his survey Hayden recognized the area needed protection. “He knew that the residents of Montana territory were already handily desecrating features in the thermal basins…. With geysers it is a hard and fast rule with no exceptions that once a geyser is broken, there is no repairing it.” Hayden knew of the geysers of Iceland and New Zealand. He also knew the basins of Yellowstone dwarfed them in comparison. Back in Washington Hayden drew the geographic borders of Yellowstone to encompass the major geyser basins and hydrothermal areas of the region. The art of Thomas Moran and William Henry Jackson brought color, highlights, and shadows to Hayden’s official report, and reinforced the truth of the descriptions. The singular focus of both men’s creative work is the landscape. Neither Moran’s paintings nor Jackson’s photographs contain wild animals other than birds. Wildlife was simply not considered in the designation of the park. In 1872, grizzly bears were still roaming southern California, the slaughter of the Great Plains bison herds was not yet complete, and the howls of wolves were a common sound on the western frontier.

Motor Cars Change the Scene

It is not until the arrival of automobiles in the park that wildlife becomes a presence in the published narratives of visitors. Whittlesey says, “I would be so brave as to suggest motorized vehicles mark the shift. After the introduction of motorized vehicles, visiting the park no longer required a minimum five-anda-quarter-day organized trip. In vehicles people were no longer moving at roughly 6 miles per hour; they could travel much more quickly and stop anywhere. It democratized the experience.”

Since the creation of the park in 1872 there have been more than 163 million recorded visitors to Yellowstone. Current park geologist Hank Heasler asks a rhetorical question to illustrate the challenges of protecting Yellowstone’s thermal areas amidst such visitation: “Where were the major developed sites placed?” From the square shape of the park, to the routes of its roads and the location of its visitor services, the human geography of Yellowstone has been largely defined by the thermal features. Up to 90 percent of the park’s total annual visitation, now more than three million visitors, pass through the Upper Geyser Basin, home to Old Faithful and more than 150 other fragile geysers. The visitor hub of Mammoth Hot Springs is located adjacent to one of the world’s only active travertine terraces. Each summer as many as 25,000 people visit the Old Faithful area in a single day. Heasler says the visitation has an impact. “Whether Yellowstone Quarterly 3

Wildlife was simply not considered in the designation of the park.

In 1872, grizzly bears were still roaming southern California, the slaughter of the Great Plains bison herds was not yet complete, and the howls of wolves were a common sound on the western frontier.

Yellowstone is home to more than 10,000 hydrothermal features, including more than 300 geysers. Four types of hydrothermal features are found in the park: hot springs, mudpots, fumaroles (steam vents), and geysers. Grand Prismatic Spring (top photo) is the largest hot spring in the park, with a diameter of 370 feet.


William H. Jackson photograph, “Summit of Jupiter Terraces,” 1871.

From the square shape of the park, to the

routes of its roads and the location of its visitor services, the human geography of Yellowstone has been largely defined by the thermal features.

you are looking at bears, bison, or hydrothermal features, visitation brings interaction with the resource, and the resource will be affected.”

Looking Ahead

Heasler sees improved science as one of the keys to protecting the thermal features. “As we develop better and better science to monitor the hydrothermal features we can better quantify the impacts and respond to them,” he adds.

Though he has a Ph.D. in geology rather than poetry, Heasler is lyrical as he describes one of the motivations behind his work to protect Yellowstone’s remarkable geology: “These features allow visitors to witness a geologic process that occurs on a human time scale, and to observe the majesty of the park and the infinite variability of nature.” When future visitors look back at the park of our era 50 or 500 years hence, they may wonder at our transportation, dress, or technology, but they will recognize our response to the geologic miracles of the park. The sense of human wonder is one constant amid Yellowstone’s dynamic landscape.

Mike Quist Kautz grew up in Maine and now lives and writes in Livingston, Montana. His outdoor writing and photography have appeared in Sports Illustrated, The Salt Lake Tribune, Yankee Magazine, and Outside Bozeman.

Yellowstone Quarterly 5

Xanterra Awarded 20-year Yellowstone Concession Contract

By Stephen Camelio

Maybe the old saying should be: “The more things stay the same, the more they change.” That’s because with the National Park Service awarding the contract to incumbent Xanterra Parks & Resorts® to operate hotels, restaurants, gift stores, and activities in Yellowstone National Park for the next 20 years, the park’s concessioner may be staying constant but the decision also points to a lot of changes to come. The contract, which went into effect December 1, 2013, stipulates that Xanterra will invest an estimated $134.5 million to improve park facilities. Approximately half of that expenditure will pay for the redevelopment and construction of lodging at Canyon Village. Money has also been earmarked for renovations of the Lake Yellowstone and Mammoth Hot Springs hotels and Fishing Bridge RV Park, new concession employee housing at Lake and Old Faithful villages, and the rehabilitation of the Mammoth Haynes Photo Shop. Xanterra is also planning to invest in other park improvements that include renovating some of its foodservice facilities, purchasing new vehicles for operational and visitor use, and upgrading its information technology capabilities. The outcome of the bidding process was a huge win for the Greenwood Village, Colorado-based company, which also runs facilities at many state and other national parks, including Grand Canyon, Death Valley, and Glacier. “Obviously anyone that is in the national park concession business would be honored to be in Yellowstone. It’s like going to the Super Bowl or the World Series,” says Rick Hoeninghausen, Xanterra’s director of sales and marketing for Yellowstone. “Yes, it’s a great business opportunity, but, at the end of the day, it’s also the world’s first national park and you want to be here.”



O And Xanterra has been here for many years —since 1979 in fact. Though the company’s name has changed twice since then, the organization’s longstanding relationship with Yellowstone and the National Park Service could have been the deciding factor in their bid being accepted. Along with the financial investment, the NPS sought to work with concessioners that have already demonstrated the qualifications to meet Park Service priorities, like historic preservation.

“Everyone who works in or visits Yellowstone are stewards of the land and the wildlife, but we are honored to have a direct stewardship of the buildings, so many of which are icons,” says Hoeninghausen. “We look forward to using our knowledge and expertise in historic preservation to ensure these structures are around for future generations to love and appreciate as much as we do.”

Better, more modern accommodations means more money for Xanterra, but the company believes their investment will pay dividends that go well beyond their bottom line. Each of these new construction projects means materials, contractors, architects and builders—all of which they will be sourcing from the surrounding area. “The money we are spending is going out into the gateway communities that surround the park,” Hoeninghausen says. “We’re talking about an economic impact of several hundred million dollars for the area, which is pretty immense.”

Tri-state communities as widespread as Boise, Idaho, where the modular units for the Canyon upgrade are being produced, will experience a positive economic impact from Xanterra’s investment, Hoeninghausen says.

Another key component of the plan outlined in Xanterra’s contract is the big impact they plan not to make on the environment. “Already one of the core values of our mission, we’ve made a commitment to the Park

Service to continue our push to soften our ecological footprint,” notes Hoeninghausen. Xanterra’s plan prioritizes the environment by building energy-efficient, eco-friendly structures that they hope will receive LEED silver certification. They already divert more than 70 percent of their waste from landfills, and under the new contract Xanterra has set a goal to be considered a waste-free operation by 2016. These sustainability initiatives make Xanterra a strong partner with the NPS, which has also been developing programs that promote healthy lifestyles through physical activity and nutrition. With the implementation of their own Fresh Forward program in recent years, Xanterra has already expanded their offerings of foods that are local and/or sustainable, and as soon as possible hopes to meet the contract’s stipulation that at least half the company’s menu items fit the criteria of healthy and sustainable.

The contract, which went into effect December 1, 2013, stipulates that Xanterra will invest an estimated $134.5 million to improve park facilities. Along with working closely with the NPS, the new contract also allows Xanterra and the Yellowstone Association to continue working together. “Because the Park Service was looking for proposals geared toward improving visitor service, we collaborated with YA’s Jeff Brown and [former director of education] Jenny Golding a fair amount on the bid,” Hoeninghausen says. “With their help, we put in proposals to continue some of our current programs and to start new ones that will further enhance our partnership with YA.”

Stephen Camelio is a freelance writer living on the Montana/Wyoming border of Yellowstone National Park. His writing has appeared in Men’s Journal, Runner’s World, Field & Stream, and Fly Rod & Reel.

Yellowstone Quarterly 7

Hank Heasler and Cheryl Jaworowski Yellowstone National Park’s Geologists

There’s no question Hank Heasler and Cheryl Jaworowski are excited about Yellowstone. She — a geomorphologist specializing in the evolution of the landscape — a nd he — a geophysicist specializing in how the earth transports heat — felt they landed their dream jobs when they joined the Yellowstone Center for Resources 10 and 12 years ago, respectively. The husband-wife team started collaborating while working at the University of Wyoming, where they researched and taught. Yellowstone caught their attention because, in their description, the park embodies scientific research and educational opportunities on all levels, with many knowledgeable people around to learn from. Currently representing 100 percent of the full-time National Park Service (NPS) geologists in Yellowstone, Jaworowski and Heasler are taking a new approach to understanding how the park’s geothermal system operates with thermal mapping. They are incorporating a larger view of the Yellowstone hotspot, the amount of heat it produces, and how this affects hydrothermal resources in the park. We asked them the following questions:

What’s the latest information on the Yellowstone hotspot? “Recent studies by University of Utah scientists show the magma chamber beneath Yellowstone to be larger than previously thought,” Heasler says. “Using newer techniques and better earthquake data, University of Utah scientists portray an almost banana-shaped reservoir approximately 9 miles deep beneath Old Faithful and approximately 3 miles deep northeast of Canyon Village.” He adds, “Over 90 percent of the molten rock in this reservoir is crystallized. This new information is part of the progress report of science and is not thought to increase the hazard of the Yellowstone volcano.” Adds Jaworowski, who takes a strong interest in public outreach and education: “We still have a long way to go in terms of communicating science and the process of science.” You both recently spoke with instructors from the Yellowstone Association Institute and other interpretive organizations. Do you see education as an important component of your work? “Yes,” Jaworowski says. “Education helps the public understand the intricacies of Yellowstone’s volcanic geology, the Yellowstone hotspot and the formation of the park’s landscape.” “It’s a great place for informal education on all levels,” she continues, noting visitors—as well as residents—have access to experts in many different fields while visiting the park. “I think that’s what Yellowstone is all about. That’s what’s noteworthy about it.” Heasler adds that providing reliable information to interpretive staff, be it with the National Park Service, YA, or other organizations, is important so visitors can access trustworthy facts. Armed with knowledge, visitors can then make their own observations about what they’re experiencing. “Having these types of discussions with visitors is invaluable,” Heasler says. What is the relationship between the Yellowstone volcano and Yellowstone’s hydrothermal system? “The Yellowstone volcano is one of the world’s largest active volcanoes,” Heasler says. “Direct evidence for the size of the volcano are the more than 10, 000 hydrothermal features and 500 geysers found in the park. The heat from the volcano is responsible for the largest-known concentration of hydrothermal features in the world. Understanding Yellowstone’s hydrothermal heat output is an important aspect to improving our understanding of the Yellowstone volcano.” For more information on their research visit: 8

Shop Yellowstone’s Official Park Store! Our Park Stores are the #1 source of information on Yellowstone, and sale proceeds directly benefit Yellowstone National Park.


Large small 6 1. Yellowstone Has Teeth


Member $14.40  Regular: $16.95 This memoir provides a firsthand account of the trials, tribulations, and joyful abundance of living year-round within the borders of the world’s first national park.

2. Field Guide to YNP/Tetons

Member $21.20  Regular $24.95 An essential nature guide to both parks, featuring more than 1200 color photographs and written by a local wildlife biologist and eco-tour guide.

3. Grizzly T-shirt


Member $16.99  Regular $19.99 This black, 100% organic cotton t-shirt displays a grizzly bear design on the back and the YA logo on the front. Unisex sizes S-XXL

4. Grand Prismatic Puzzle Member $11.04  Regular $12.99 This 18” x 24” inch puzzle (over 500 pieces) features Grand Prismatic Spring, the largest hot spring in the park.

5. “Breaking Light in Lamar Valley” Print


Member $13.55  Regular $15.95 This matted, 8” by 10” print by Horsefeathers Photography captures shafts of light moving across the valley floor.

6. Tree of Life Poster Member $14.44  Regular $16.99 This 13” x 19” poster colorfully illustrates the abundance and variety of species present in Yellowstone.


Call 406.848.2400 or visit

Return of the Mountain Bluebird: Spring Comes to Yellowstone By Barbara Lee Illustration: Maria Bisso

The sun spreads warmth, new growth appears, and Yellowstone welcomes back one of spring’s earliest harbingers: the mountain bluebird. After wintering as far south as Mexico, the brilliant-blue males and gray-beige females return to the park, usually between late April and mid-May. Mountain bluebirds are seen in Yellowstone’s open meadows and forest edges, perched on limbs and fence posts or swooping down in flight to catch insects. Listen for their soft, repeating warble — a cheerful sign of the coming spring. As Henry David Thoreau expressed it, the sound “melts the ear, as the snow is melting in the valleys around.” Yellowstone Quarterly 9

Opening the By Ruffin Prevost

Beginning in early March, crews work for up to three months clearing more than 320 miles of paved roads in Yellowstone. From late March to early April, bicycle travel is permitted between the West Entrance and Mammoth prior to roads opening to vehicles.



The Coveted Job of Snow Plowing The earliest visitors driving into Yellowstone National Park each spring get to see the park as it is just waking up from a long winter’s nap. Motorists cruise through an undisturbed landscape of pristine white. In many places, roads snake through freshly plowed ice and snow that reaches far above vehicle roofs. Plowing Yellowstone’s roads is a job most spring visitors take for granted. But it is one of the most complex, difficult, and costly annual projects carried out by National Park Service workers. It’s also, according to those who have done the job, one of Yellowstone’s best assignments. “Spring opening is probably one of the greatest jobs in the park,” says Randy Baum, facilities manager for Yellowstone. ‘The best part of it is when we begin to open the roads. We are the first ones on wheels in the park in spring,” he says. “The park is very beautiful in the winter, and even at that late time of the season, there’s still snow, along with the spring snows all over. It’s all white and just gorgeous, as you get a different perspective of the park between the winter and summer seasons.” Each year during the first full week of March, Baum leads a crew of 15–20 drivers and 2 mechanics who work for up to three months clearing more than 320 miles of paved roads in Yellowstone. The job is different from the typical municipal road plowing done in most parts of the country. Except for the section from Mammoth Hot Springs, Wyoming, to Cooke City, Montana, Yellowstone’s roads are closed to cars and trucks in winter. The snow piles up for months and is packed down all season by hundreds of snowmobiles and snow coaches moving throughout the park. Most of Yellowstone’s roads lie above 6500 feet in elevation, including three mountain passes higher than 8200 feet. Baum’s crew

also helps plow the Beartooth Highway along the Montana-Wyoming border — just outside Yellowstone’s northern boundary. The winding mountain road tops out at 10,947 feet. Depending on how much snow falls and how often it thaws and freezes during various temperature swings, crews can encounter everything from light, fluffy powder to several feet of compressed ice. Trying to blast through such icy blockades can take a toll on the powerful, but temperamental, specialized rigs used by Baum’s crew. “We’re careful to try and find personnel who have handled these types of conditions and equipment before,” Baum says. “The snow-removal equipment is difficult to keep running in these conditions and easy to tear up if you do not have an understanding of the machinery, snow conditions, and know what you’re doing.” Safety is the crew’s overriding priority, Baum says. Aside from harsh weather conditions, road workers also must be aware of bears coming out of hibernation. Crew members look out for one another and each plow driver is accompanied by at least one person. Some of the heavy machinery dates to the mid-1970s, because buying new equipment is just too costly. Some of the older rotary plows used in Yellowstone can remove between 2500 and 3500 tons of snow per hour. Newer machines used by some state highway departments can clear 5000 tons per hour or more, but cost between $800,000 and $1.2 million. The annual road-clearing operation burns as much as 1300 gallons of diesel fuel each day, costing $1 million in a typical year. Heavy snow years can add at least $250,000 to that total. Last spring, the Wyoming communities of Cody and Jackson raised money to help cover the cost of plowing in the wake of federal budget cuts mandated by the U.S. Congress. The move showed the Yellowstone Quarterly 11


Miles of road plowed in the park


The drivers and mechanics who clear the roads are the first people on wheels in the park each spring.

Gallons of diesel fuel used


10-year average cost of fuel

17,500  –  24,500

Tons of snow removed per hour per year

16  –  25

Number of staff

7 blowers, 4 cats, 5 graders, 4 dozers & a few other trucks Number of vehicles


5-Year average cost of plowing

8,525 Sylvan Pass

8,878 Dunraven Pass

8,262 Craig Pass


Beartooth Pass outside of park

Elevations plowed in the park


importance to gateway community residents and diehard early visitors that Yellowstone’s annual spring opening happens on schedule.

“One Big Ballet” Plowing the roads is a key part of what Baum calls “one big ballet” that includes opening buildings and facilities that were closed during Yellowstone’s harsh winter. The first job is to clear a path to drinking water and sewage treatment facilities in developed areas and to clear roads and parking areas to allow concessions workers and park employees to begin preparing hotels, restaurants, and other buildings for opening. To cut down on daily commute times, plow crews stay in employee housing in the park’s interior, Baum said. Despite the isolation —  including a lack of amenities like TV or even cell phone coverage at times — road plowing remains a coveted job. That’s partly because those who do it enjoy the challenge. On a good day, crews can clear up to 20 miles of road. But in the worst years and in the toughest places, a day’s work has meant clearing less than a single mile, Baum says. “Most days, Mother Nature dictates what you’re going to do and how much progress you’re going to make,” he says. “About the time you think you’ve got it figured out, Mother Nature throws you something to humble you a little bit. Overcoming those challenges is what makes it exciting.” Ruffin Prevost is founding editor of, an online publication offering community news and inside views about Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks.

Clear lake Loop

By Kristen Hilleren

Off the Beaten Path: Lesser-Known Thermal Features

Monument Geyser Basin

seven mile hole

LoneStar Geyser

Yellowstone National Park is filled with geothermal activity. The park boasts more than 50 percent of the world’s geysers, as well as numerous hot springs and mudpots. You can avoid some of the crowds that the most popular sites bring by touring some equally impressive, but less frequently visited, features. Here are seven lesser-known places to visit in the park:

Note: To prevent serious injury or death, read and adhere to all signage in thermal areas. The thin ground in these areas breaks easily, and often overlies scalding water. Always stay on the marked and maintained trail and/or boardwalk. No swimming or bathing is allowed in thermal pools.

Seven Mile Hole This 10-mile round trip into Yellowstone’s Grand Canyon features a sampling of what the park has to offer. Walk a flat trail through a lodgepole forest, accompanied by the smell of sulfur. The first mile provides a view across the canyon of Silver Cord Cascade, a 1200-foot waterfall tumbling to the Yellowstone River. Halfway through the hike, start descending steep switchbacks into the canyon. Along the way view a dormant but colorful geyser cone, bubbling mudpots, and fumaroles. Turn around at the river’s edge, 7 miles from Lower Falls. Monument Geyser Basin Monument Geyser Basin is a clearing in the forest showcasing evidence of thermal activity in an expanse of white rock. It is reached by a short but steep hike, approximately 1 mile uphill. View inactive geyser cones, the still-steaming chimney of Monument Geyser, pools of boiling water, and steam vents dotting the landscape. The geysers are no longer active, but the basin is worth a trip. Stay on the trail. There are no boardwalks to follow in this largely unfrequented area. Artists’ Paintpots Named for the colors seen in and around the basin, Artists’ Paintpots includes a short boardwalk that loops around steaming thermal pools. First, view a grove of dead trees with their bases bleached white by minerals deposited from thermal runoff. Then view colorful, steaming hot springs where water reaches boiling temperatures. Continue up a small hill to two gurgling mudpots. Here gasses are released up through the ground so the pots appear to be boiling and spitting mud from within. Creamy blue pools complete the area’s impressive features. Lone Star Geyser Aptly named for its remote location, Lone Star is an active geyser located near the more popular (and populated) Old Faithful. The geyser is an easy 2.5-mile walk in. It erupts roughly every three hours from a 10-foot-tall cone. The eruption starts with a minor phase, lasting about 5 minutes, with water up to 45 feet. It concludes with a roaring release of steam, lasting up to 20 minutes. Find a journal at the geyser where guests record eruptions so future visitors can predict when the next will be. Clear Lake Loop This 7-mile loop is located just south of Yellowstone’s Grand Canyon. After hiking the first mile, you come to its namesake, Clear Lake, a crystalline pond where hot springs bubble up through the water and mudpots and fumaroles dot the landscape. The smell of sulfur fills the air. The trail continues on to Ribbon Lake—source of the tallest waterfall in Yellowstone, Silver Cord Cascade. To visit the falls, follow a small spur trail to the viewpoint. Continue following the loop to return to the trailhead. Imperial Geyser Located in the Lower Geyser Basin, Imperial is a somewhat unpredictable geyser. It usually erupts within every three hours, but sometimes remains dormant. The geyser erupts from a blue pool rimmed by colorful algae, about the size of a football field. It erupts up to 3 minutes and spouts water 6 to 80 feet. Imperial is the second, more impressive, geyser past Fairy Falls. Spray Geyser is slightly closer and erupts almost continuously, but with no great height. By way of Fountain Flat Drive, the Fountain Flats Drive/Freight Road trail skirts Ojo Caliente and numerous other backcountry thermal features. Whiterock Springs For an up-close look at seldom-seen backcountry thermal features, visit Whiterock Springs. This bog-like area along a stream can be reached via the Solfatara Creek Trail. There is an array of steaming hot springs and popping mudpots strewn across a clearing in the surrounding forest, giving an otherworldly appearance to the area. Amphitheater Springs, a similar thermal area, is a bit closer but its features are located farther from the trail. Also along the way is Lemonade Creek, a bright-greenish-hued stream filled with sulfur. Kristen Hilleren is a freelance writer living in Bozeman. When she isn’t skiing, running, and biking in the mountains of southwest Montana, you can find her cooking and documenting these adventures at

Yellowstone Quarterly 13

N N Naturalist Notes


By Carolyn Harwood, Institute Resident Instructor; illustration by Tah Madsen

Are bears “true” hibernators? For years the answer to this question was a resounding “no,” as bears do not experience the dramatic decrease in body temperature associated with true, or deep, hibernation. Recently this view has shifted. Bears are what are known as “super hibernators.”

Why the Yellowstone Association Institute? There are many reasons why people choose our programs. For some, it’s about deepening an already special relationship with wild places. For others, it’s investing wisely, making the most of precious time in Yellowstone’s Wonderland. To many, it becomes a pilgrimage, a chance to retreat, renew, and recharge. We offer in-depth courses on special topics ranging from wolves to wildflowers to geology. Consider a family adventure. Challenge your abilities. Expand your knowledge. Extend experiential education to groups of young people. All of these and more are reasons people join our expert field staff for an experience of a lifetime in the world’s first national park. So the question becomes: Why not the Yellowstone Association Institute?

We know Yellowstone. Come live it with us! See a full selection of courses and offerings at or call 406.848.2400 for more information.


In Yellowstone, most black and grizzly bears hibernate four to five months during winter. During that time, the bear’s heart rate drops from a summer rate of 40 to 50 beats per minute to as low as 8 to 12 beats per minute. Respirations come at a rate of one breath every 45 seconds. Body temperature, however, remains within 12ºF of the bear’s summertime body temperature of 100–101ºF. By maintaining a high body temperature throughout hibernation, bears gain advantages — a nd face challenges — unknown to deep hibernators. Bears can react to danger immediately, whereas chipmunks and ground squirrels — with hibernating body temperatures as low as 40ºF — must warm up before they can move quickly. Throughout hibernation, a bear must metabolize fat to maintain its high body temperature. Fat metabolism causes the bear’s cholesterol level to skyrocket to twice that of summer (and twice that of a healthy human). So why don’t bears suffer the same adverse health effects we humans do? Somehow a bear prevents its arteries from hardening, while the bear’s liver secretes a substance that dissolves gallstones. Perhaps even more remarkably, in contrast to deep hibernators that must arouse periodically to urinate and defecate, bears avoid eliminating metabolic wastes by instead recycling them. Urea, a toxic waste found in urine, is a prime example. A bear breaks down urea and uses the resulting nitrogen to build protein, which is then used to maintain organs and muscles. In other words, bears lose fat and may actually gain lean muscle mass while hibernating!

YA Family Bonnie Quinn

L amar Buffalo Ranch Campus Manager

Born and raised in Maryland, Bonnie got her nickname from her grandmother, who refused to call her by her birth name “Barbara”— instead referring to her as “her sweet Bonnie lass.” After retiring from a 30-year career as a telecommunications manager at age 50, she worked a series of volunteer positions before experiencing what was soon to become her home away from home: Yellowstone National Park. During a family vacation in 1999, Bonnie became a Yellowstone Association (YA) member while purchasing books at the Canyon Village Park Store. “Once I started receiving the quarterly magazine and the Institute catalogs, I learned more about YA’s mission and knew I wanted to get more involved,” she says. Unable to choose only one class from the Institute catalog, Bonnie decided to go “whole hog” and volunteer for the organization. She volunteered at the Lamar Buffalo Ranch during the summers of 2001 and 2004 and the winter of 2004–05. The following spring, she applied and was accepted for a full-time position as campus manager. “At first, we weren’t busy enough in the winter to have a full-time campus manager,” she recalls, “so I was lead volunteer during the first two winters. Then the position became both summer and winter.” Since then, Bonnie has worked and lived in Lamar nearly year-round, keeping everything running smoothly. Her duties range from conversing with volunteers and participants to making sure classrooms, spotting scopes, binoculars, and buses are ready to go. “I’m very lucky to be able to see the big picture and the detail—so I plan and organize and check and recheck and just DO,” Quinn says. Her favorite time of year in Lamar Valley? “Every season is my favorite,” she says. “The landscape constantly changes and is mesmerizing.”

Here are some of Bonnie’s favorite things about springtime in the Lamar Valley: • Fantastic “Weekend Warriors” helping open campus and readying for classes • Veteran and rookie volunteers arriving, raring to go • The cottonwoods greening up and leafing out • Bears coming out and wandering the valley in search of food • Bison babies kicking up their heels in the morning and then lying flat out, exhausted, for a few hours before kicking up their heels again in the evening • The constant cycle of blooming wildflowers • The scent of sage after a quick rain shower • Critter interactions, especially around carcasses • Watching sunsets off the back porch • Cow and calf bison herds wandering through campus • Bluebirds building nests

Bonnie Quinn has just finished ten years as campus manager. At the end of the summer she’ll be moving on to new adventures. “We celebrate her tenure,” says Jeff Brown, YA executive director, “and thank her for her deep commitment to YA and Yellowstone National Park. We wish her the very best and know that she’ll maintain her strong connection to Yellowstone and the many friends she has made here.”

The Summit Society was created to recognize and honor those who have chosen to preserve Yellowstone for future generations by making a gift to the Yellowstone Association in their estate plans.

Leave a legacy for Yellowstone

Gift planning is an excellent way to make a meaningful charitable gift while minimizing taxes and increasing the possibilities for effective distribution of assets. Learn more about including Yellowstone in your estate plans, or let us know that you have already done so, by contacting Director of Development Stacey Orsted at or 406.848.2855.

Yellowstone Quarterly 15

THE PARK SIDE George Bumann, M.S., has a degree in wildlife ecology and works as a professional artist and educator.

Yellowstone’s Mysterious Plumbing Revealed

Snow Lodge High Stakes Poker

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 For a complete list of submission guidelines please visit or contact us at the email address above.

Eco-friEndly mEmbErship—

bEcomE a Guardian today! Wouldn’t it be nice if your membership was also eco-friendly? Yellowstone Guardians are an extraordinary group of forward-thinking members who contribute automatically through our monthly giving membership program. Not only is it convenient, but we are also able to reduce paper and postage on both ends. Since we know we can count on your continued support, there are no reminder statements — you’ll receive much less mail.

Kay Juricek, member of four years, takes a break from painting western landscapes and wildlife to pose with her YQ in her Denver, Colorado, studio.

Please join over 1,000 Yellowstone Guardians! Contact us at 406.848.2400 to make a difference today. Levels start at $10 per month or higher and include all of the same great member benefits as an annual membership. become a Guardian by may 1st and receive a yellowstone association bpa-free hydro flask water bottle* made from recycled materials. mention offer Guardian14. * International members are asked to pay a one-time fee of $25 for postage.


A member of three years, Ian Roberts of the United Kingdom took his magazine on a photography safari in the Maasai Mara National Park, Kenya.


Thank you to all of 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 October 1, 2013, and December 31, 2013. Your annual support plays a critical role in the Association’s mission to connect people to Yellowstone through education. Falls $10,00 – $24,999

Gale and Shelby Davis Margie and Earl Holland* Lollie Plank Cappy and Bob Shopneck Bechler $5,000 – $9,999

Penney and A.C. Hubbard Cherianne, Joy Dee, and Jabe Jacquart Cara and Adam Mika Jean and Robert Morgan Robin Tawney Nichols and Bill Nichols Gerry Ohrstrom Shery and Jan Packwood Joy and Jordan Renner Anne and John Weisman Gallatin $2,500  – $ 4,999

Mary and Len Beavis Ginny and Mike Campbell Carolyn and William D’Evelyn Dabney and Bill Hart Dana and David Martin Mattone Family Charitable Foundation Donna and Doug Mitchell Katharine and Kurt Rice Lillian Stephens Anonymous Lamar $1,000  – $2,499

Muriel and Don Ableson Tracy Arthur Nancy and Theodore Berndt Susan Blount and Richard Bard Candy and Louis Brad Diane Brinkmann Abby and Leon Campbell Jennifer and Chad Charlson Judith and David Cloutier* Susan and David Covey Joseph Davenport, III Chris and Timothy Davis Robbie Dircks, Jr. Patti and Mike Dondero Elizabeth and Maurice Druzin Ken Duell

Betty and Thomas Eubanks Greg Ferguson Beth and Rudy Fernandez Kim and Kent Fletcher Walter Fock Frances and Robert Fosnaugh Nancy and Peter Gallo Michelle and Patrick Gaunt Darla and Don Harbaugh Sara and Greg Harkins John Harbey Lyda Hill Thomas Horsely Sandy and Scott Johnson Benjamin Jones Carolyn and Steven Jones Harriett Kesler Cynthia and Gregory Kozmetsky Deborah and John Lahey Onelia Lazzari Susan Light Marieda and Steven Lind Julia and Richard Llewellyn Beth Maxwell Laura and Robert McCoy Beth and Steve McNeece Kathy and Roy Meyer Axson and Bryan Morgan Jane and Bill Mosakowski The Eric and Joan Norgaard Charitable Trust Natalie and Paul Orfalea David Ottolino Yvonne and Ed Parish Heidi Paul Jocelyn and Daniel Perry Boyd and Sue Ratchye Kathy and Jim Raughton Barbara and Mike Sample Carol and Robert Scallan Allison Sikes William Sowter Kathleen and Douglas Spencer Bernard Sussman Curtis Tamkin Dr. Elizabeth Trowbridge Professor Karen Uhlenbeck and Robert Williams Tim Van Roekel Annette and Kelley Waters Norma and Kirk Westervelt* Dr. Doreen Wise Anne Young and James Nielson Debbie and Jim Zug Anonymous (2) *Yellowstone Guardian


Special thanks to the following members who made contributions to our educational endowment between October 1, 2013, and December 31, 2013. Gale and Shelby Davis $15,000 BUSINESS MEMBERS

Special thanks to the following business members who supported the Association at $1,000 or higher between October 1, 2013 and December 31, 2013.

Elizabeth Post Robert and Cappy Shopneck Carmella Stone and Rick Choate Terri Tarin Walker Parking Consultants/ Engineers, Incorporated Karen and Jeff Weigel Western States Fire Protection Company In Memory of Jonathan Brumbach

Teresa Smith In Memory of Brian Connolly

Heather Jerome In Honor of Annie Dahmer

Platinum $2,500 – $ 4,999

Barbara Saffer

MicroRidge Systems Inc. Pauline S. Schneegas Wildlife Foundation

Beverly and Michael Jackson

Gold $1,000 – $2,499


Special thanks to the following members who made cash or in-kind contributions of $1,000 or greater between October 1, 2013, and December 31, 2013. Counter Assault Joellyn and Jim Barton SUMMIT SOCIETY

The Summit Society recognizes those individuals or families who 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. 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 October 1, 2013, and December 31, 2013. In Memory of Mark & Luke Benjamin

American Campus Communities OP LP Katie Cattanach and David Charles Mike Davis Cynthia Garcia Tanya and Allan Hauck Jade, Incorporated Susan Karo Barb and Lou Lanwermeyer D R McNatty Richard Meehan Axson and Bryan Morgan Morley Builders

In Honor of Dad/Dick In Memory of Evelyn Fusfield

Ellen Halter Lisa and Jason Liebman In Honor of Marcia & Lowell Johnson

Sarah and Tom Foster In Honor of Lamar Buffalo Ranch

Tracy Arthur In Honor of Linda

Sandra Gann In Honor of Lucy Martin

Judith and Charles Martin-Hoyt In Memory of C. Dale McDoulett, Jr.

Tom Caulfield Andrew Waits Melissa Walker In Honor of Barry and Kathy Morris

Jay Morris In Honor of Claudia Negrey

Tonya Mallozzi In Memory of Margaret Noack

Becky and Michael Berryhill In Memory of Doug Ozias

Becky and Michael Berryhill In Memory of Hugh Charlton Perry, III

Becky and Michael Berryhill In Honor of Carrie Rorer

Debbie and Jim Zug In Honor of Donald Seger

JoEllen Maras In Memory of Kevin Wilkins

Rita Howard

PHOTO CREDITS: CINDY GEODDEL/YA: PG. 1; Stephanie Ripley/YA: pg. 4; Macneil Lyons/YA: Pg.4; Karen withrow/YA: Pgs. 4, back cover; Courtesy of Hank heasler and Cheryl Jaworowski: pg. 8; Maria Bisso/YA: PGs. 10, 12, 14, 15; NPS: pgs. 10, 12; Wendie Carr/YA: PG. 13; Aspen Glow Productions/YA: PG. 13; Ken Voorhis/YA: PG. 13; Dave Syfert/YA: pg. 15

Yellowstone Quarterly 17


Please visit to view our Annual Report.

20 12 2012 Annual Report 1

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.