Quarterly Y ELLOWSTONE
Dark Skies over Yellowstone New Visitor Survey in Search of Solutions Changing Landscape in Yellowstoneâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Bechler Region
Dear Yellowstone Forever supporters, It’s another busy summer season here in Yellowstone, and our team couldn’t be more excited. Our Institute instructors, Park Store associates, and volunteers look forward to connecting with visitors in-person, relishing the opportunity to share their knowledge of and love for the park with others. I’m excited to share that Yellowstone Forever is in a strong financial position. We also had a breakthrough year in the Institute, ending last year with a record number of program participants—7,569! Our Youth, College, & Teacher program has grown by 90% in the number of participants, and we recently launched (in partnership with the National Park Service) a new Citizen Science program. We look forward to continuing to grow and diversify Yellowstone Forever’s educational offerings and reach. I’m also pleased to share that in 2018, Yellowstone Forever will provide $5.9 million to fund 53 projects in Yellowstone National Park. These priority projects include the Yellowstone Wolf Program, trailhead information displays, youth education, and black bear research, among many others. We are proud to partner with the National Park Service to fund these vital projects and exceptional educational programs that inspire and engage visitors. I encourage you to learn more about the projects your support makes possible by visiting Yellowstone.org/projects. While not everyone has the opportunity to visit Yellowstone in-person this summer, we can still reach new audiences by leveraging technology. Our online community has grown to more than 800,000 people, allowing us to directly engage with Yellowstone enthusiasts around the world. Through our digital channels (@ynpforever), we’re able to connect and share stories, as well as stunning photographs and videos, of the world’s first national park with people like you who love it the most. Thank you for your continued support of Yellowstone National Park. Your commitment to the park—and to Yellowstone Forever—is what makes all of this great work possible.
Heather White President & CEO Yellowstone Forever
Cover photo: A ranger atop the Mount Washburn Fire Lookout surveys Yellowstone by starlight.
02 Dark Skies over Yellowstone 06 New Visitor Survey in Search of Solutions 08 yf family Terry Ward 09 experience Try a Waterfall Adventure to Escape Yellowstone’s Summer Heat 12 Changing Landscape in Yellowstone’s Bechler Region 15 naturalist notes Yellowstone's Bats 16 nps interview Evan Hubbard 18 flora & fauna The Ten-Petal Blazingstar | The Night-Gliding Northern Flying Squirrel 20 Supporters
Contributors writers Megan Boyle Wendie Carr Owen Carroll Chelsea DeWeese Neala Fugere Jenny Golding Barbara Lee Ruffin Prevost
images / pages Lauren Beltramo Maria Bisso Carolyn Harwood Bulin Steve Hinch Doug Loneman Matt Ludin NPS/Jake Frank NPS/Neal Herbert NPS/Diane Renkin Aaron Schuerr
16 14 9 10, 11 2 18, 19, back cover cover, 6, 19 2, 3, 5 12, 13 17
Lauren Beltramo Maria Bisso Megan Boyle Wendie Carr Paula Degen
Executive Team & Board Members EXECUTIVE TEAM
Senior Director of Park Projects
Vice President of Marketing & Communications
President & CEO
Chief Development Officer
Chief Marketing Officer
Thomas Cluderay General Counsel
Leslie Everett Chief of Staff
Senior Director of Operations
Senior Director of Campaign & Special Projects
Director of Employee & Volunteer Engagement
Senior Director of Education
Chief Financial Officer Vice President of Retail
Vice President of Development
Kay Yeager CHAIRMAN
VICE CHAIRMAN TREASURER
Tom Detmer SECRETARY
Heather White PRESIDENT & CEO
Kevin Butt Michael Campbell John Costello Annie Graham Carolyn Heppel Charles Kaufmann III Joe Marushack Robert Mathias Susan Roeder Jacqueline Rooney Bob Rowe Doug Spencer Elizabeth Webb
By Jenny Golding
DARK SKIES over Yellowstone
“The night sky is the world’s largest national park, with its stark beauty available to anyone who steps outside and looks up.” —Geoff Chester, U.S. Naval Observatory
ON a clear night in July, dozens of park visitors are
standing in the dark at a large pullout along the road between Mammoth Hot Springs and Tower Junction— staring up at the sky. Overhead, the Milky Way splashes across the heavens in a seemingly impossible river of stars. National Park Service (NPS) Interpretive Ranger Tammi Corchero uses a green laser pointer to highlight constellations, nebulae, galaxies, and other celestial features. Nearby, visitors peer through a telescope fixed on Saturn. At this Star Party, a summer interpretive program offered by Yellowstone National Park, the mood is one of awe. “Most people come from places where they don’t have dark night skies…. They’re just amazed at what they see,” says Corchero. “I’ve seen people come to tears when they see the Milky Way for the first time.” For millennia, the night sky has been an important source of inspiration, reflection, and scientific discovery. As recent as 100 years ago, children and adults alike could gaze up at the sky as their ancestors did, swallowed in the endless complexity of the stars, and ponder the mysteries of the universe. Today, artificial light from developed areas—hundreds of times brighter than natural night sky—creates a form of light pollution known as skyglow, concealing the stars for up to 100 miles. A recent study in Science Advances reports that light pollution obscures
Yellowstone’s Castle Geyser under Milky Way skies
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the heavens for 99 percent of the people in North America and Europe. Fully one-third of the world’s population can no longer see the Milky Way. The spread of light pollution is altering the natural rhythm of light and dark that has governed life on earth for billions of years. According to the International Dark-Sky Association (IDA), light pollution has serious, detrimental effects for both humans and animals—disrupting circadian rhythms, melatonin, and sleep patterns in humans and interrupting breeding, migration, and hunting in animals, birds, and insects. Fortunately, darkness still reigns in Yellowstone, where the park protects a sky wilderness of staggering beauty. Limiting the amount of light pollution that comes from developed areas is key to ensuring that it stays that way for generations to come. “Yellowstone is an ecosystem,” says park landscape architect Lynn Chan. “That ecosystem functions during the day, as well as at night.” While the handful of developed areas in the park are “small villages in the vast wilderness,” says Chan, they contain more than 5,000 individual outdoor light fixtures and lamps. “It’s one of those impacts to wilderness that we can mitigate very easily. All we have to do is turn off or change the light.” Artificial light exists on a color spectrum. Lights in the blue spectrum—4,000 Kelvin or higher—mimic daylight and refract light into the sky more easily. Yellow and amber lights—around 3,000K or less—have a much lower impact on the night environment. Protecting the night sky also means ensuring that outdoor lights illuminate only where needed, are no brighter than necessary, and are fully shielded (with fixtures pointing downward instead of up and out). In Yellowstone, many of the fixtures in villages like Old Faithful, Mammoth Hot Springs, and Lake Village have been custom-designed by Chan and park electricians to match the historic character while also minimizing light pollution. Yellowstone is working towards becoming a “Dark Sky Park”—an IDA designation that recognizes places that protect the night sky by meeting national standards for shielding, color spectrum, and developing public education programs. While the park has been changing outdoor lights for 20 years—when funding is available— there’s still plenty of work to do. A recent inventory of outdoor lighting in the park conducted by Ohio Northern University revealed roughly 2,500 non-compliant light fixtures across NPS and concessioner facilities. The park will have to reach at least 67 percent compliance to become eligible for “Dark Sky” status. At the Star Party, Corchero points out the Andromeda Galaxy. The closest large galaxy to our own, Andromeda is still 2.5 million light years away, and is only one of billions of galaxies. On a good night 5,000–6,000 stars are visible to the naked eye in our neighborhood of the Milky Way, out of a staggering one sextillion stars in the observable universe. “Can you imagine a world where we couldn’t see this?” says Corchero as she talks about easy ways visitors can help mitigate light pollution at home (such as by closing blinds at night and making sure outdoor lights are properly shielded). “We would lose this incredible source of beauty and inspiration. If we didn’t know what was up there, there’s so much we wouldn’t understand about the universe.”
HOW TO VIEW the Night Sky in Yellowstone 1. Get away from lights. Find a quiet spot away from developed areas, such as Lamar Valley, Swan Lake Flat, or Hayden Valley. 2. Protect your night vision. Use a headlight or flashlight with a red bulb, or put red cellophane over your light. 3. Take a field guide. A simple planisphere, available at Yellowstone Forever Park Stores, will help orient you to the wonders above. 4. Learn a little at a time. Learn a new constellation, nebula, or planet every time you go out. Soon, you’ll amaze yourself and your friends with how much you know. 5. Take a class or program. Participate in a star party offered by the NPS; take the Yellowstone Forever Field Seminar Time Lapse and Night Photography; or join the Stars over Yellowstone program offered by NPS and Museum of the Rockies. For more information, visit Yellowstone.org and nps.gov/yell. Jenny Golding is a former director of education for Yellowstone Forever. She currently runs the website A Yellowstone Life, and writes from her home in Gardiner, Montana, on the border of Yellowstone National Park.
Lodgepole pines against a backdrop of Yellowstone’s spectacular night sky
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New Visitor Survey in Search of Solutions By Ruffin Prevost
In 1962, pioneering wildlife biologists Frank and John Craighead attached a radio tracking collar to a grizzly bear in Yellowstone National Park. It was the first time such gear had been used to track a large mammal, launching decades of continuing technological innovation in the field. Today, GPS satellite tracking collars gather a staggering array of fine-grained data about the movements and habits of a range of different species in Yellowstone. According to Jody Lyle, Yellowstone’s chief of strategic communications, “2015 was a critical turning-point year,” for the park. “We had a 17 percent increase in visitation over the previous year and, honestly, the park was not prepared for that.”
But for the first time this summer—more than 50 years after that first grizzly was collared, and more than 100 years after cars were first allowed in the park—researchers will be using GPS trackers to learn more about how humans interact with Yellowstone’s roads and major attractions.
The surge in visitors brought increased impacts to park resources and made it difficult for law enforcement and first responders to get to and from incident scenes, she said. In an effort to get a handle on the situation, park managers decided to first seek feedback from visitors and gateway communities. “We don’t want to fall into a trap of only looking through our own Park Service lens. It’s important for us to get other opinions and ideas,” Lyle said.
“We are finally starting to collar ourselves,” joked Norma Nickerson, director of the Institute for Tourism and Recreation Research at the University of Montana. Nickerson is one of the researchers conducting a study this summer that will place GPS-enabled tablets in the hands of randomly selected visitors as they enter Yellowstone. The goal is to get solid, fine-scale data on how a broad cross-section of visitors travels across Yellowstone, as well as real-time feedback on how satisfied they are with their experiences at major attractions and in congested areas. The study will be a continuation of work begun in 2016 to learn more about vehicle traffic and visitor behavior following an unexpected surge in visitation the previous year. Yellowstone visitors prepare to take a survey about their experience in the park.
So a National Park Service social scientist led two studies in 2016 that looked at visitor experiences and vehicle traffic in the park. The Transportation and Vehicle Mobility Study found that the park’s busiest corridors in August were experiencing overflowing parking lots and frequent 6
traffic jams, with places like Fishing Bridge, Canyon, and Old Faithful seeing nearly 30 percent more vehicles than roads can safely handle.
across the park. At least one interviewer will speak Mandarin, in an effort to learn more about the growing number of Chinese visitors coming to Yellowstone.
All that congestion didn’t go over well with those who came to see wildlife, scenic vistas, and thermal features, according to a Visitor Use Study conducted around the same time. More than half of those surveyed said there are too many people in the park and that roadway traffic and congestion were problems. Two thirds said parking was a problem.
Park managers will use responses gathered this summer to help draft a range of potential options for relieving congestion and improving visitor experiences. They’ll present some of those potential options to visitors in a new round of survey questions in 2019, aimed at learning which alternatives are most or least acceptable to a broad spectrum of visitors.
Part of these problems stem from a 50 percent increase in visitation since 2000. Travelers in Yellowstone drive along alpine roads that were initially built for horse-drawn carriages. Roadside pullouts and parking lots can’t be expanded quickly enough to keep pace with the rising tide of summer sightseers.
The 2019 survey questions will focus on “trade-offs,” Lyle said. Visitors might be asked, for instance, if they would be willing to make a reservation to visit Old Faithful at a specific time of day if it meant they were assured of finding a parking spot. Or would they prefer the flexibility to visit any time if it meant they might spend a half-hour or more looking for parking?
Park managers have worked to make sure road repair and construction projects include widening shoulders and adding pullouts where possible and as budgets allow. But that process is complicated and unlikely on its own to solve traffic problems.
Lyle also explained that the National Park Service at the national level is paying more attention to the issue of overcrowding, with parks like Arches and Yosemite struggling with congestion issues far beyond what Yellowstone is experiencing.
Christina White, a Yellowstone planner working on the visitor and traffic studies, said the National Park Service has not yet begun developing specific plans to address congestion issues. Park managers are still gathering data about why people choose to visit Yellowstone and how they move around in the park. This summer’s surveys will run from May through September, White said, offering a broader picture than data gathered mainly in August 2016. While previous studies employed some surveys that visitors mailed back after they returned home, this summer’s work will use the GPS-enabled tablets and separate in-person “intercept surveys” at key spots to gather more real-time feedback from visitors, she said. Nickerson said the tablets will gather anonymous data on vehicle speed, routes traveled, time spent at specific sites and other passive data, just like a GPS collar on an elk or wolf. But they will also use geofencing—a method of designating specific sites to trigger the devices—to ask visitors real-time questions about their experiences at busy spots like Old Faithful, Canyon, Grand Prismatic Spring, and elsewhere. She said the tablets have been used at ski resorts and in other outdoor recreation settings, but she was unaware of them being used in a national park before. Researchers will ask participants to return the tablets at drop-boxes throughout the park as they exit, and the data can be immediately downloaded and reviewed to help fine-tune the process throughout the summer. In-person intercept surveys will be conducted at a variety of sites YQ | 7
Trade-off questions aren’t fun to answer, and park managers are hardly excited to be asking them. But visitors’ trade-off views are likely to prove essential in finding the best path forward for ensuring a good experience for what is likely to be a steadily increasing stream of visitors to the world’s first national park. Ruffin Prevost is founding editor of Yellowstone Gate, an online publication offering community news and inside views about Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks.
Y F FA M I LY
“Nineteen sixty-six was one of the greatest summers of my life.” That’s how Terry Ward remembers his time spent in Yellowstone between his sophomore and junior years of college working for the Hamilton Stores at Old Faithful.
back and tell me what they did and what they saw, so that’s really satisfying.” When it comes to hikes in the park, it’s not just visitors who take advantage of Ward’s prolific knowledge of the park’s backcountry. New employees who show an interest in hitting the trail often find themselves being introduced to Ward so he can take them under his wing and into the backcountry.
Those days in the park had such an impact on him that after close to 30 years as an educator and basketball and track coach in his native Oklahoma, he knew exactly what he wanted to do. “When I retired from teaching I wanted to go back and work one summer in Yellowstone,” Ward remembers. “That was 22 years ago.”
“A couple years ago, I hit my 5000-mile hiking mark within the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem,” Ward remarks. “I’ve done every hike in the park except for the southeast corner and the Thorofare. Every time I’ve planned to do them, something’s happened with my partner and I’m not going to do those by myself.”
The last 14 of those years have been spent with Yellowstone Forever, supervising seasonal retail operations at various Park Stores throughout the park. Currently he serves as the manager for Yellowstone Forever’s central district, which includes Norris, Canyon, and Fishing Bridge.
Some of his favorite hikes include Storm Point ( “because it changes with the seasons” ), Avalanche Peak ( “some of the best views in the park” ), and the north side of Electric Peak ( “a great, long hike” ). Even with his bucket list not completely checked off, Ward has seen his share of amazing things on Yellowstone’s trails, from backcountry thermal features and spotting a mountain lion on Mt. Everts to “magnificent” beaver dams and several close encounters with grizzlies.
Working at the Park Stores for so long, he’s as knowledgeable as many seasoned rangers and does his best to help park visitors get the most out of their trips to the park. That includes quenching their thirst for more information about Yellowstone and the national parks. “If someone really wants to know a lot more about Yellowstone, I always recommend The Yellowstone Official Guide and then possibly the Resources & Issues Handbook if they want a lot more detail,” Ward says. “If they’re looking for more of a page turner, I steer them toward another book we sell called The Last Season by Eric Blehm because it reads like a mystery.”
Ward, who hiked “only” 150 miles last summer, has been finding adventure abroad during recent winters, visiting places like South Africa, Spain, Egypt, Ireland, Thailand, and Jordan, to name a few. One of his favorite spots was Torres del Paine National Park in the Patagonia region of Chile. “I think it’s one of the most beautiful places I’ve seen on the Earth,” he says. “And I’ve spent the last 22 summers in Yellowstone.”
When a newcomer to the park asks a Yellowstone Forever employee how to get the most out of their vacation, Ward is often sought out to give advice. “I recommend they get away from the road and away from all the people,” Ward says. “I try to suggest some short hikes. That way they get to see a whole different park. A lot of times they’ll come
Terry Ward is back in Yellowstone this summer, too! Look for him at Yellowstone Forever Park Stores and along the park’s hiking trails. 8
Try a Waterfall Adventure to Escape Yellowstone’s Summer Heat By Chelsea DeWeese
Different Twist: Mystic Falls
or summer visitors to Yellowstone National Park, perhaps nothing is more refreshing than spending an afternoon at one of the area’s idyllic waterfalls. With more than 45 named waterfalls that are more than 15 feet high throughout the park, the opportunities to enjoy falling water are virtually endless.
Rated MODER ATE TO MORE DIFFICULT, not recommended for young children Trailhead Old Faithful Geyser Basin
“Kids love waterfalls and so do most parents!” says Carolyn Harwood Bulin, supporter engagement manager for Yellowstone Forever, who leads hikes in Yellowstone. “With so many waterfalls to choose from, there’s something for every family.” FAVO R IT E WAT E R FA L L H I K E S Youngster Friendly: Wraith Falls Rated E A SY Trailhead Wraith Falls pullout approximately 5 miles east of Mammoth Hot Springs on the Grand Loop Road heading towards Tower Junction Description This mostly flat, approximately 1-mile out-and-back hike follows a well-established trail through sagebrush and forest to a 100-foot cascade on Lupine Creek. The trail crosses a footbridge and ascends a short distance to a waterfall overlook. This destination is
for those interested in a straightforward Yellowstone excursion. “Wraith Falls is a short, kid-friendly hike,” Harwood says. “Even little legs can handle this one. It’s just long enough to stretch your legs and immerse yourself in Yellowstone’s rich environment.”
Description This approximately 8-mile loop starts at Old Faithful Geyser and combines the best of front country hydrothermal features and a backcountry waterfall. After watching an eruption of Old Faithful, walk northwest along the Firehole River and past numerous geysers on a paved trail until reaching Morning Glory Pool. Here, admire Morning Glory before walking a dirt trail past Artemesia Geyser to Biscuit Basin. At Biscuit Basin, walk a short distance—enjoying Sapphire Pool and other hydrothermal features along the way—to Avoca Spring, located at the back. Here, join a dirt path toward Mystic Falls on the Little Firehole River. Stay left and continue approximately 0.7 miles along the river until you see the Mystic Falls
tumbling 70 feet off the Madison Plateau.Stay to the right avoiding social trails to the water, which can destroy local plantlife, before steeply ascending 500 feet in half a mile and bearing right toward a well-defined overlook offering sweeping views of the surrounding area. After enjoying the view, descend a dirt path back to Biscuit Basin. Turn right onto a dirt trail to return to Old Faithful via the Daisy Geyser bike trail. Please note: This is a hot hike during summer, so bring plenty of water and sun protection, and consider wetting your shirt before leaving the Little Firehole on your ascent to the overlook. Remember to bring binoculars to view eruptions! Plan an entire day for this hike.
Family Challenge: Osprey Falls Rated MODER ATE
For more information on obtaining a backcountry hiking permit visit: www.nps.gov/yell/planyourvisit/backcountryhiking.htm
Trailhead Glen Creek pullout approximately 5 miles south of Mammoth Hot Springs on the Grand Loop Road Description This approximately 8-mile out-and-back hike takes an afternoon, so pack plenty of water and snacks. The trail travels 3 miles along a dirt road before veering onto a 1-mile, 800-foot descent into Sheepeater Canyon. At the bottom,
Osprey Falls on the Gardner River in northwestern Yellowstone
enjoy the 150-foot Osprey Falls before retracing your route to the trailhead. “For those who seek a longer hike, the magnificent and powerful Osprey Falls is well worth the effort,” Harwood says. Avoid this hike in mid-day heat.
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For information on hiking in bear country visit: www.nps.gov/yell/planyourvisit/hiking-in-bear-country.htm Chelsea DeWeese is a freelance journalist and instructor with Yellowstone Forever based in her hometown of Gardiner, Montana, the North Entrance to Yellowstone National Park.
E XPERIENCE | PRE SERVE
Pikas (Ochotona princeps) are abundant in Yellowstone, where they live in talus slopes and eat a wide variety of vegetation.
Changing Landscape in Yellowstone’s Bechler Region By Neala Fugere
Far from the paved roads and drive-through entrance gates of more developed areas, the Bechler region is tucked away in the park’s southwest corner. This region can be difficult to get to, often requires overnight travel, and is generally associated with a sense of wilderness and solitude. Visitors have been drawn to it for activities like backpacking, fishing, and horse pack trips. Although the region may have once offered a remote wilderness experience in a park that grapples with more than 4 million visits a year, Bechler, too, is beginning to see changes, according to Bechler District Ranger Dave Ross. “Bechler has changed considerably from the time I started working there in 1989,” Ross says. “A lot of homes are appearing in multiple areas around the region. More and more people are finding themselves on Bechler’s doorstep.” This development in nearby towns—Driggs, Tetonia, Rexburg, Idaho Falls, and Ashton—has resulted in a significant increase in day use, Ross explains. Day hikers and stock users are on the rise, and Ross is concerned day-use visitors may not be as up-to-speed about wilderness travel as overnight users, who are required to check in with the backcountry ranger station before heading out. Ross worries that as one of the more remote areas in Yellowstone, Bechler is not designed to handle the increase in visitation, and he fears for the area’s natural resources—which include several species of unique and endangered plants. Limited infrastructure and park staff, coupled with a sharp increase in visitation, have already resulted in impacts to this fragile area. Noticeable damage, Ross says, includes stock impacts to trails and trees used to tie up horses. Even more obvious is the cropping up of social trails—human-caused trails that deviate from the designated, maintained network. To get a better idea of the changing scene in the Bechler area, Natural Resource Management Specialist Sue Mills, with the help of Lead Technician for Backcountry Monitoring and Resource Impacts Amanda Bramblett, is currently gathering baseline information on visitation and resource impacts. Their work includes analyzing soil erosion and changes to vegetation, assessing stock and visitor use numbers, and partnering with rangers to identify and map social trails and other impacts.
“We examine physical impacts in the backcountry to give data-driven science to park managers,” Bramblett explains. “The goal is to be able to show change over time in a given area to help them make sound decisions.” The team began collecting data in the Bechler region in 2014 and is projected to continue for several more years. Preliminary results, Mills says, have taken them by surprise. “For a remote and mostly undeveloped area, we’re receiving a lot more use than anticipated,” she says. “It’s an area in transition.” Social trails, Bramblett’s area of focus and one of the primary issues the resource specialists have identified, have the potential to cause more damage to the area than visitors may realize. “Veering off the designated trail can fragment wildlife habitat, create erosion, and introduce invasive plants,” Bramblett explains. “Once you turn the ground up, you leave it more vulnerable to nonnative species moving in.” As the area’s district ranger, Ross has witnessed impacts relating to social trails firsthand. Anglers seeking out fishing holes are partly responsible for the issue, but the most significant impacts have come from hikers exploring Bechler’s waterfalls and warm springs—some of the major draws to the area. “The falls have really been discovered,” he says. “The added impact of concentrated use in these sensitive areas is a major concern.” Ross, Mills, and Bramblett all agree it’s important to stay ahead of these impacts— before the area changes beyond recognition. Ross identifies the need for a comprehensive management plan that includes increased visitor education and law enforcement support. He also cites the need to rehabilitate existing social trails, as opposed to making them designated, maintained trails, which might make it easier for visitors to access sensitive areas. Ross and Mills both agree how park managers will go about protecting Bechler all comes down to why areas like this deserve protection. Bechler offers a much different experience than front country areas like Old Faithful, Ross says, and he feels it’s an experience worth preserving. “The visitors to this area value Bechler for wilderness, but also for the solitude,” he says. “I think it’s in our best interest to try and preserve this sense of discovery for people.” “We need places that have retained their mystery—that are a little more difficult to get to,” says Mills. “Otherwise, we’ve lost something really special.”
Neala Fugere is the former communications coordinator for Yellowstone Forever.
A backpacker hikes through Yellowstone’s remote and lush Bechler Canyon.
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N AT U R A L I S T N OT E S
Yellowstone's Bats By Owen Carroll, Lead Instructor
Have you ever seen a bat in Yellowstone? I usually see these nocturnal animals as I finish fishing on the small lakes I frequent during summer evenings. Yellowstone is home to 13 species of bats. The little brown bat is the most commonly encountered of these. This regional subspecies was first identified at Lake Hotel in 1904. These and other bats play an important role in ecosystems, since they consume 3000 to 7000 insects in a single night. Small wonder they feed on these evening hatches as voraciously as the trout I pursue! Bats are unfortunately threatened by a disease called white-nose syndrome that has decimated some populations. Although it has not yet reached Yellowstone, biologists are concerned about the possible threat this disease poses. To manage bats in a way that preserves their long-term viability, research focuses on the distribution, activity, and habitat use by these animals.
to bats, which can be used to track movements. Secondly, biologists use specialized equipment to record and analyze the sounds bats emit to echolocate their prey. These sounds are analogous to a bat screaming at the top of its lungs, and each species has a unique variation. Although bats may not have the established charisma of others, they are as essential to this landscape as the geysers, mountain valleys, and more visible wildlife that generally catch our attention. Next time you spend an evening in the park, keep an eye out for these inimitable and invaluable creatures that truly contribute to the wonder of Yellowstone.
This is done by two methods: the first involves attaching radio-frequency identification (RFID) transmitters
NPS INTERVIE W
Evan Hubbard Park Ranger
Evan Hubbard is one of more than 100 rangers providing interpretation in Yellowstone each summer season. We recently sat down with Evan, now a year-round park ranger in the Division of Resource Education and Youth Programs, to hear his thoughts on interpretation and the rewards of sharing the park with visitors from all over the world.
giving an evening talk by the fireside; the next day I’m out managing an animal jam. We have a varying mix of visitors too—from international visitors coming for their first time, to locals who are coming back for the 20th time. Every interaction is different, and the needs of the visitors are different. That makes every day new—I wake up each morning wondering what the day will bring.
What led you to the National Park Service and Yellowstone?
I’m originally from northern New Mexico, and got my start in the Park Service working seasonally in Yellowstone in 2016. In college, I studied Mandarin at the University of New Mexico. I first went to China in 2011 and learned very quickly how much I appreciate and admire the culture. When I got back to the U.S. in 2014, I knew I wanted to do something with ChineseAmerican relations. I found a job at Old Faithful working as an interpretive ranger for the first season of the Mandarin interpretive program in the Division of Resource Education and Youth Programs. The position combined my love of outdoor spaces with my passion for the Chinese language and culture. I knew when I left my seasonal job that I wanted to come back year-round, and I got lucky the opportunity came so quickly.
What is the value of having park rangers who speak Mandarin?
What is park interpretation, and what service does it provide?
I’ve lost count of how many wildlife jams I managed in my last season—they’re a daily occurrence. What Yellowstone Forever does to support the funding of wildlife rangers is so important, both for the safety of the wildlife and the visitors. People are often so excited to finally be here and see the animals they’ve dreamt about seeing that it can be easy to forget about safety. Having a ranger on the scene significantly reduces the risk of a negative encounter. It also gives visitors a chance to talk to someone who can explain what they’re seeing and what the animal is doing—and how to view wildlife safely in the future. Yellowstone offers the rare opportunity to view wild animals and birds in their natural habitats, and helping visitors safely enjoy that amazing experience is important to ensuring that the same experience will be available to future generations.
We receive a huge number of Chinese visitors and that number has been growing each year. It’s an exciting experience for them to, all of a sudden, have someone speaking their language—it helps them feel welcomed. Their worldly experience is very different from ours. There is a need for interpreting the park’s resources to help them understand what they’re seeing, and the meaning of preservation. I think it’s one of our greatest opportunities, to share our mission with a country that is currently developing its own national park system.
Interpretive rangers play an important role in managing wildlife jams. How does this support keep visitors safe?
Interpretation is finding a way to emotionally connect park visitors to some element of our park, whether it’s history, culture, or wildlife. It’s especially important to connect with them on their terms. I have my passions about the park, but if I can find out what visitors are interested in and infuse that with my own interests, I can create lasting memories. Helping people find an emotional connection to the park makes them care about parks, and when they care about parks they are more likely to stand up and say they want to continue preserving them.
What does a day in the life of an interpretive ranger look like in summer?
One of the fun things about being a ranger is that every day is different, especially in the summertime. One day I might be
Heading to the park this summer? Visit us at the Yellowstone Art & Photography Center at Old Faithful Village! Enjoy a presentation on the history of art in Yellowstone, pick up art supplies, or take part in the daily hands-on activity. Open seven days a week.
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2 0 1 8 F E AT U R E D A R T I S T
Aaron Schuerr Nymph Lake, pastel on paper
F L O R A & FAU N A
Learn in a Winter Wonderland Ready for a Yellowstone winter adventure? The Yellowstone Forever Institute offers in-depth winter Field Seminars on topics ranging from birding to animal tracking. Enjoy cozy lodging at a reduced rate and leave the planning and driving to us!
The Night-Gliding Northern
Blazingstar BY BARBARA LEE ART LAUREN BELTRAMO
Henry David Thoreau observed that nighttime offers some of nature’s finest wonders, and this whiteflowered native is surely one of them. Summer evenings in Yellowstone, the ten-petal blazingstar (Mentzelia decapetala) blooms and emits a sweet fragrance to attract nocturnal pollinators. As darkness falls, the ten-petal blazingstar, or evening-star, opens its huge, three- to four-inchwide blossoms. The elegant flowers close before dawn, and in daylight, the lanky plants on Yellowstone’s open hills or roadsides give no hint of their nocturnal transformation.
Registration for winter Field Seminars opens August 15 for Yellowstone Forever supporters and August 22 for the general public. Supporters receive $15 off tuition and early registration.
Learn more: Yellowstone.org/experience
BY BARBARA LEE ART LAUREN BELTRAMO
Found in woodlands across much of the country, the northern flying squirrel (Glaucomys sabrinus) is an appealing little aerialist—so appealing that Teddy Roosevelt kept one as a pet. This longwhiskered rodent inhabits Yellowstone year-round, using its parachute-like, wrist-to-ankle membranes to glide up to 148 feet (45 m) or more between trees. Yet, park visitors rarely spot the species. The reason? Flying squirrels—less agile on their feet than “regular” squirrels—are nocturnal, probably an evolutionary adaptation to their vulnerability to daytime predators. 18
Double the Impact for Yellowstone Did you know many employers will match charitable contributions made by their employees? If your company participates, request a matching gift form and make a donation in support of the park you love. The impact of your gift may be doubled or even tripled! Visit Yellowstone.org/matching-gifts to see if your company is eligible.
More Ways to Give Yellowstone Forever is a proud participant of the Combined Federal Campaign—a workplace giving program that gives federal employees the opportunity to support the charitable organizations they care about most. If you are a federal employee and would like to make a contribution to Yellowstone Forever this fall, our CFC code number is 67297. Thank you for your support!
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SUPPORTERS MANY THANKS!
We wish to acknowledge those who contributed to Yellowstone Forever between January 1, 2018, and February 28, 2018. Because of space constraints, the following list includes contributions of $1,000 or more. Your support—regardless of size—plays a critical role in connecting people to Yellowstone. YELLOWSTONE SOCIET Y $10,000 – $24,999 Sandy and David Burner Evelyn and William Reed Karen Robinson Catherine and John Zammito $5,000 – $9,999 Beat Burger Bannus Hudson $2,500 – $4,999 Dorothy and James Bowers Charlene and Jim Eckman Sandra and Denny Simonson Joann and Scott Snowden $1,000 – $2,499 O. Steven Anderson William Andrews* Jane and Anthony Arnold Tracy Arthur* Janice and Travis Atterberry Darlene and Jim Baker* Julie and Bruce Barrick Marcia Bartlett* Ann Marie Beisser Natalie and Warren Bergholz* Brock Binford* Victoria and Iain Bonner* Joan and Michael Brown David Burday* Debbie and Raymond Carlin Joy Carlough* Katherine Cattanach and David Charles* Chris and John Cavanaugh* George Cero* Grace and John Cogan* Jeanne and Dave Collins* Leslie and Thomas Croyle* Lisa and Jim Cummings* Tom Cunningham Kristin and Jeff Dahl* Dorothy and Jack Daniels* Betsy De Leiris* Kathleen and Dominic DeMarco Robert Dowling* Michal Dusza* Jennifer and Tim Edwards* Margaret and Randall Ellenz* Nancy Erlanson and Donald Gibe*
Nancy and Pete Etheridge* Lynn Evans* Frederick Fox Caroline Gabel Tanya and Jerry Gee* Stephanie and Jesse Gerdes Margaret and William Gleghorn* Brian Goeckel Maurie and William Gray* Kathleen and William Grubbs* Julie Haight-Curran* Duane Hartman John Harvey Debra and Albon Head* Jean and Joseph Hedrick* Nancy and John Hoppe* Patricia and Michael Horn Judy Johnson and Hubert Lattan Jeanne and David Jones Elizabeth Jones* Sherry and Dave Kapes* Julie and Roger Keaton* Susan and Peter Klock* Michael Koehl Franklyn Kraus Katherine Korba and Ray Laible* Karrie and Christopher Lang* Dianne and Jose Leis Nanci and Paul Limbach* Pamela Little and Howard Anderson* Ben Lunsky* Jerome Mage* Shirley and Robert Mahoney* Sarah and Peter Mariani* Sue Marler Andrew McDougald* Paul Mensch* Julia Merry* Robyn Meyer* David Miller* Marjorie and Rodney Miller Yvette Montiel and Richard Schafer* Cristina Moody* Dick Moore* Trese-Ann and Steve Mount* Kevin Mulcahy Ken Mutell* Jeanne and Jonathan Nauman* Jim Nelson Maureen and Ronald Nichols* Andrew Nicklawsky* K. E. Niedner* Jeanette and Michael Norte* Susan and Roy O’Connor Susie Odom* Richard Orlowski* Holly and Carlos Ortiz* Doreen and Lee Packila* Norma and Robert Placensia* Deborah and Dale Pope* Brandon Porras Wendi and James Proffitt* Anne and David Radke
Janice and Ronald Randall Mary and William Redmond Darren Rhinehart* Peggy and Chris Rice* Sigridlinda Rivington* William Roane* Evelyn Rose and Sharon Nadeau* Carolyn Rosin* Dennis Rowe Mary and Brett Schat-Beimers* Diane and Leland Selby* Susan Sewell* Harnek Singh and Ishinder Kaur* Trent Sizemore* Erna Smeets and Bill Simkins* Judith Stalder and David Hughes* Amy Stephan and Mike Mohan* Susan Sterchi and David Moore* Hazel and Jay Stevens* Nancy Stovall* Christopher Tan* Martha Thompson* Dottie and Mike Tillotson* Debbie and William Tracy* Edwina Trout* Barbara Trueman Emily and Jonas Van Aken* Rita Vasquez-Myers and Brys Myers Margaret Good and Thomas Von Lehman Jennifer and Ken Voorhis* Erin Gibson and Matthew Wallace* Lisa and Richard Warner Kim Waters and Larry Rogers* Pamela and David Waud Catherine and Norman Weeden Dee and Jay Welch* Nancy and Richard Welch* Norma and Kirk Westervelt* Heather White and David Diamond* Jonna and Barton Whitman Gigi and Randall Whitman Jill and Lewis Wilks* Marsha and Ronald Williamson* Virginia Wolfe* Suzanne and David Worley* Janet Wrestler and Randall Eckhoff* *Yellowstone Guardian—our sustainable monthly giving program
SPECIAL TRIBUTE DONORS The following donors made a contribution as a tribute to someone or something special in their lives between October 1, 2017, and December 31, 2017. Moving forward, donors making gifts of $1,000 or more or special tribute gifts will be recognized annually in Yellowstone Forever’s annual report and on our digital honor wall at the Old Faithful Visitor Education Center. Thank you for your commitment and support of Yellowstone National Park!
In honor of Kathy Addington Elaine and Steve Koenig In honor of Patricia and Robert Adler Lisa Adler In honor of Don and Pat Albright Rick Hieber In honor of Sarah Baldwin Andrea Costner In honor of Linda Bates Betty Hallowell In honor of Mortimer B. Bates III Bates Family Foundation In honor of Alan Benford Angela Benford In honor of Dr. William Berard Marjorie Hoskinson In honor of David and Erin Bilbrey Sara and Ron Sprinkle In honor of Tim Bogg Maureen Bogg In honor of Elizabeth Bowhan Betty Hallowell In honor of Stephen Burroughs Susan W. Rumsey In honor of Wilson Caldwell Amanda Carroll In honor of Jerry and Carol Cantor Elaine and Steve Koenig In honor of the alpha female of the Canyon Pack Christine Baleshta In honor of Owen Carroll Turner Houston In honor of Christopher C. Casey Timothy Lindeborg In honor of Helen Chun Joseph Edwards In honor of Eleanor W. Clark George and Elisabeth Ireland In honor of Joyce Comin Dan Borchers In honor of Carol Corder Bonnie Rupe In honor of John Costello Darlene Tobin In honor of Ken Cummins Dennis and Victoria Pettey In honor of Neil and Karen Denowitz Jacob Baker In honor of Hayden Despain Laran Despain In honor of Kathy Dickey Betty Hallowell In honor of Janet and Guy Dodge Julie Dickinson In honor of Helen Farrell Mary Sabatini In honor of Courtney Fitzpatrick Wisetail Works In honor of the Frattini Family Lynn Hidek In honor of Helen Farrell Mary Sabatini In honor of Susan Gardner Bernard Rose In honor of Don Glen Vicki Wolfe
In honor of Carl and Lorelei Gorski Elaine and Steve Koenig In honor of Charlie and Pat Grove Elaine and Steve Koenig In honor of Owen Harrison Laura Proctor In honor of Henry Hatch Andrew M. Hitchcock In honor of Rick Hicks Brittany and Nate Hicks In honor of Matthew Hube Margaret and Frederick Hube In honor of Carol and Pat Kennedy Jennifer Kieffer In honor of Chris Khouri Lisa Henderson In honor of Marianne Konvalinka Nancy and Ed Konvalinka In honor of Nicholas and Jena Kraner Debra Kraner In honor of Eric Ladd Alexis Deaton In honor of Linda Land Marjorie G. Land In honor of Mark Land Marjorie G. Land In honor of David Laybourne and Sarah Pont Carolyn Freeman In honor of Mike Leake Kelsey Semrod In honor of Arnie Madsen Sarah Glaser In honor of Marcia and John McCarley Sara and Ron Sprinkle In honor of Steve Masera Susan Billings In honor of Dr. Robyn Meyer Susan Waschler In honor of John Morgan Margaret Vogt In honor of Cliff Myrick Kara Myrick In honor of Wesley and Janet Nelson James and Reyna Dodds In honor of Joe Niekamp Erin Lofties In honor of Brian O’Dea Katie Harwood In honor of Jim Plummer Patricia and Jaye Jarrett In honor of John and Toni Prall Marcia and John Prall In honor of Susan Prestwich Betty Hallowell In honor of Roger Pretti Ken Pretti In honor of Richard Rand Marjorie G. Land In honor of Stacy and Marilynn Richards Kristin Park In honor of Katie Roloson Libby Mills In honor of Alan Schratz Thomas Fleischer In honor of Leanne Schuh Sharon Bosse In honor of Dr. and Mrs. Richard Senelick Joel and Pamela Thompson In honor of Ben, Jake, and Nick Simmons John and Suzanne Simmons
In honor of Jess Stahl Ray T. Smith In honor of Susan Stiger Betty Hallowell In honor of the Teel Family Ginny Teel In honor of Dr. and Mrs. Lower Thompson Joel and Pamela Thompson In honor of Mr. and Mrs. Jason Updegraff Charles Anyan In honor of Don and Paula Vidrine Larry and Charlene Thompson In honor of V.C. Wald Liza Burkhart In honor of Christine Warner J. R. Planalp In honor of Ian and Jamie Watson Elaine and Steve Koenig In honor of Jodie Weaver Doreen Fiedler In honor of Dan Wenk and Ben Howland Rosa Crocker In honor of Charlotte Vaughan Winton and David Winton Harry Schoening In honor of Frank and Kay Yeager Joan Gray, Greg and Cindy James, Vin and Caren Prothro Foundation In memory of Helen Amundsen Donald Amundsen In memory of Michael Bailey Pamela Taylor In memory of Bertha Ballantyne Sanford Barrett, Cindy Dahle, Matthew Durham, James Haisley, Suzi Haynes, Elaine Jarvik, Wade Leak, Gigi Parke, John Pearce, Elbert Peck, Jill and Perrin Love, Julie McAdams, Dennis Owens, Robert Payne, Michael Smith, Laura Anne Stetson, Christopher Stout, Sam and Deirde Straight, Camille Thorpe, Phyllis Vetter, Brian Watts, Ellen and Dan Weist, Alice Whitacre, Elizabeth Winter In memory of Jerry Bentley Caroline McClure In memory of Roger Bookout Vernon and Nancy Wolcott In memory of Charles Borror Robert Johnson In memory of Macon Brock Elayne B. Axel In memory of Jena Bryant Blair and Dennis Nickle In memory of John F. Buckley John and Eileen Buckley In memory of Frank Burasco Bette Jo Jones In memory of Tim Burks Edward C. Burks In loving memory of Kritter and Gladys Bryant Sharon Rowland In memory of Sally Chambers Betty Hallowell In memory of Harold Cheuvront Debra and John Benshoof In memory of Ray Conarty David and Claire Campbell
In memory of Gail Cook Terence Ward In memory of Dorothy Mills D’Orazio Jane A. Albright, William Bash, Marcy Bogdanich, Margaret B. Brown, Margot L. Brubaker, Theodore Brubaker, Rebecca S. Bumsted , Troy A. Clair, Conestoga Capital Advisors, LLC, Carol A. Deardorff, Carol G. Falk, Kevin and Tracee Fruman, Kathleen A. Garvey, Sharon Hargrave, Bruce A. Hepburn, Teresa C. Hunt, John Hook, Brad Kline, Lucy Kline, Martha Koscinski, Andrew F. Lucarelli, Barbara B. Maley, Maureen G. Maley, William Martindale, Jay Myers, Eric Nordstrom, Lynn W. Peters, Michael Phillips, Virginia Randall, Stiegel Construction, Inc., Kendall Stonerook, John J. Zaro, Robert Zink In memory of Peggy Ellis Ann Marie Johnson In memory of Bill Evans Anne Dustin In memory of Stuart Furman Jonathan Ansbacher In memory of Michael Glavanovich Susan and Paul Ewing-Decou In memory of Sharon Glynn Christine Brocato In memory of Gene R. Grifo Harriet and Ronald Gladish In memory of David A. Groska Teresa Groska In memory of Betty B. and Richard H. Gross Carey E. Gross In memory of Elaine Grulke James W. Ashworth, Mary Eisner, Forrest Grulke, Janice L. Hasel, Connie Hoffmann, Donna Mundt, Robert J. Pfeil, Manorama Sharma In memory of Nate Herrington Dee Ellen Damico , Kenneth C. Robbie , Mary H. Whiteside In memory of Ernest Hirsch Robert and Mary Perkins In memory of Bob Holmes Paul and Nancy Benjamin In memory of David Boyd Howard Jr. Sherry Bain In memory of Priscilla Introcaso Joanne Trainor In memory of Gertrude Jenkins Irene D. Jenkins In memory of Kazumasa Kitazawa Nikah Fialkoff In memory of Travis Eugene Lewis Theresa Lewis In memory of Donald and Irene Little Marlene and Robert Cushing In memory of Arnie Madsen Jeanne Cook, Bettina Fabos, Randall Lake In memory of Leon “Luke” Marshall Michael Abel, James and Twyla Elliott, Bill Hamblin, Carol-Ann Jackson, Christy C. Martin
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In memory of Thomas McNesby Donna and Tom Shoffner In memory of Robert Murrish Barbara R. Murrish In memory of John Pass III Janet C. Pass In memory of Bernie Patriacca Phillip Bodenstab, Ellen Yenawine In memory of Miles Pierman Chastin H. Pierman In memory of Karen L. Pina and Josie Earl Marlene and Robert Cushing In memory of Catherine A. Reichel Shirley A. Baumann, Mark Dalebroux, Sara Heinzen, John I. Judson, Jennifer A. Karlsson, Kathleen Meehan, Paul Reichel In memory of Jeffrey Robb Gail Evans In memory of Evie Shanks and Lorraine Rosebrook Nancy and Ricky Shanks In memory of Paul G. Saviano Carrie Saviano In memory of Janet Scheutz Karen Heavrin In memory of Christine Schildbach Carol Bartlett, JoAnne Braun, Nancy Butler-Rian, Sue Dickhans, Robert Dykstra, Sylvia Maiuri, Mary McManus, Gerald Montgomery, Harold Mueller, Sue Staton, Robert Stichert In memory of Barbara Seaquist Laurel J. Gerber, Kenneth R. Larson , Katherine Seaquist-Bors In memory of Floyd Sendmeyer Carole Sendmeyer In memory of Timothy Stickney Julie Melia In memory of Ed Stilwill Toni Gannon In memory of Dwight N. Syfert David V. Syfert, Katherine Seaquist Vogel In memory of M. Eleanor Townsend Janet Stearns In memory of James Pace Tryner Jacki Fuhrmann In memory of James Uragami Bobbie and Jim Rohrer In memory of James O. Watson Stephen Weissman, Jay A. Bittner In memory of Dr. Norman M. Weinberger Jacqueline and Norman Weinberger In memory of Sherrie Lynn Weinstein Walter S. Weinstein In memory of Pastor Justin Wiese Julie Curry In memory of Bill Wood Michael Bersch, George Cockerham In memory of William Yearick Jean Yearick 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 406.848.2400 if you feel this is the case so we can correct our records.
PO Box 117, Yellowstone National Park, WY 82190 406 | 848 | 2400 Yellowstone.org
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The Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River, as seen from the South Rim Trail