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Mammoth Hot Springs, Yellowstone National Park, sunset
Mammoth Hot Springs Sunset

Yellowstone National Park was established on March 1, 1872, Yellowstone is the first and oldest national park in the world and has been a blueprint for National Parks set up worldwide ever since . Preserved within Yellowstone are Old Faithful Geyser and some 10,000 hot springs and geysers, the majority of the planet's total. These geothermal wonders are evidence of one of the world's largest active volcanoes; its last eruption created a crater or caldera that spans almost half of the park.

An outstanding mountain wildland with clean water and air, Yellowstone is home of the grizzly bear and wolf, and free-ranging herds of bison and elk. It is the core of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem is one of the largest intact temperate zone ecosystems remaining on the planet.

Yellowstone’s grand vistas, huge mountains, deep canyons, roaring rivers, expansive lush meadows, high plains and abundant wildlife have been attracting photographers and sightseers from all over the world since William Henry Jackson sent home the first photos in 1871.

Below I have listed a few of Yellowstone’s embarrassment of riches and provided links to the thumbnails but these barely scratch the surface of what is the comprehensive Yellowstone National Park.

Human History: The human history of the park dates back 12,000 years. The events of the last 130 years of park history are reflected in the historic structures and sites associated with various periods of park administration and visitor facilities development............................rest of essay         

Elk grazing as Olf Faithful erupts in Yellowstone National Park
elk grazing on a warm winter day as Old Faithful blows

Geothermal Features: With half of the earth’s geothermal features, Yellowstone holds the planet’s most diverse and intact collection of geysers, hot springs, mudpots, and fumaroles. Its more than 300 geysers make up two thirds of all those found on earth. Combine this with more than 10,000 thermal features comprised of brilliantly colored hot springs, bubbling mudpots, and steaming fumaroles, and you have a place like no other. Geyserland, fairyland, wonderland, through the years, all have been used to describe the natural wonder and magic of this unique park that contains more geothermal features than any other place on earth. Yellowstone’s vast collection of thermal features provides a constant reminder of the park’s recent volcanic past. Indeed, the caldera provides the setting that allows such features as Old Faithful to exist and to exist in such great concentrations. -------------------> Rest of essay

Wolves eating buffalo in Yellowstone National Park
Wolf eating bison,, Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone WildlifeYellowstone is widely considered to be the finest megafauna wildlife habitats in the lower 48 states. Animals found in the park include the majestic American bison (buffalo), grizzly bear, black bear, elk, moose, mule deer, pronghorn, wolverine, bighorn sheep and mountain lion (puma). The Yellowstone Lake Cutthroat Trout is a highly sought after trophy fish by anglers yet has been threatened in recent years by the suspicious introduction of lake trout that compete for spawning grounds and are known to consume smaller cutthroat trout.

A controversial decision by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (which oversees threatened and endangered species, is the recent reintroduction of wolves into the park's ecosystem. For many years the wolves were hunted and harassed until they become locally extinct in the 1930s. The smaller cousin of the wolf, the coyote, then became the park's top predator. However, the coyote is not able to bring down any large animal in the park and the result of this lack of a top predator on these populations was a marked increase in lame and sick megafauna. Since the reintroduction of wolves in the late 1990s this trend has started to reverse. More about Yellowstone's Wildlife

The Yellowstone Fires of 1988

Yellowstone Fire
Yellowstone Fire of 1988

Fire is good; Yellowstone has long been shaped by fire and not just the cool, creeping ground fires often described as "good" for grass production. The natural history of fire in the park includes large-scale conflagrations sweeping across the park's vast volcanic plateaus, hot, wind-driven fires torching up the trunks to the crowns of the pine and fir trees at several hundred-year intervals. It is supposed to be this way. During the first half of the twentieth century, most people, forest managers included considered forest fires to be destructive and without positive value. For this reason, Yellowstone and throughout the National Park Service had a policy of putting out all fires on national interest wildlands lands. In the second half of the century, forest managers of national parks and forests began to understand the importance of periodic wildland fires. With the help of Smokey the Bear most of America was in consensus that all wildfires were bad. Most Americans steeped in Smokey the Bear's "Only you can prevent forest fires!" mantra, the very thought that forest fires might have a positive side seemed preposterous. We all learned this as children and it is damned hard to change, as our indoctrination to this policy was total. Unfortunately man’s past practice of total forest fire suppression has changed the forest into a much shadier forest floor habitat causing heavy fuel accumulation on the forest floor resulting in the very hot forest fires we see lately that result in maximum loss of the forest. The Natural Burn Policy The National Park Service interprets its mission as letting natural processes play out unimpeded by man. Biologists and park managers have defined its policy: "We allow a park that has documented the role of fire as a natural part of the ecosystem, and that has an approved fire-management plan specifying the prescriptions under which natural fires may burn, to manage each fire on an individual basis.".....................  Read rest of essay

Fly-fishing the Madison River in Yellowstone National Park
Fishermen try their luck on the Madison River

Yellowstone Fishing: Yellowstone National Park is managed to protect cultural and natural resources and outstanding scenery, and to provide for visitor use. Angling has been a major visitor activity for over a century. Present regulations reflect the park's primary purposes of resource protection and visitor use....................... More about fishing

Yellowstone; a science laboratory

The Yellowstone Super Volcano: The Yellowstone Volcano Observatory (YVO) was created as a partnership among the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), Yellowstone National Park, and University of Utah to strengthen the long-term monitoring of volcanic and earthquake unrest in the Yellowstone National Park region. Yellowstone is the site of the largest and most diverse collection of natural thermal features in the world and the first National Park.

Volcanic History Overview: The Yellowstone Plateau volcanic field developed through three volcanic cycles spanning two million years that included some of the world's largest known eruptions. Eruption of the Huckleberry Ridge Tuff about 2.1 million years ago created the more than 75-km-long Island Park caldera. The second cycle concluded with the eruption of the Mesa Falls Tuff around 1.3 million years ago, forming the 16-km-wide Henrys Fork caldera at the western end of the first caldera. Activity subsequently shifted to the present Yellowstone Plateau and culminated 640,000 years ago with the eruption of the Lava Creek Tuff and the formation of the present 45 x 85 km caldera. Resurgent doming subsequently occurred at both the NE and SW sides of the caldera and voluminous intracaldera rhyolitic lava flows were erupted between 150,000 and 70,000 years ago. No magmatic eruptions have occurred since the late Pleistocene, but large phreatic eruptions took place near Yellowstone Lake during the Holocene. Yellowstone is presently the site of one of the world's largest hydrothermal systems including Earth's largest concentration of geysers. ...................Rest of essay

Thermophile microbe researchers in Yellowstone
Thermophile microbe researchers in Yellowstone

Yellowstone Microbiology Research: Yellowstone National Park is a focal point for cutting-edge microbiology research and how it provides a valuable setting for outreach education. extremophiles, microbe diversity and evolution are studied here. Scientists who study extreme environments are drawn to Yellowstone because it contains more active geothermal features than any other location on the planet. Those features are also very diverse.. Geothermal environments are obviously very hot, but they offer a variety of chemical extremes, some of which are relevant to applications in bioenergy and bioprocessing.

Researchers looking at bacterial mats in Yellowstone’s thermal pools discovered a new species that uses chlorophyll to convert the sun’s energy into chemical energy.

Scientists found the bacteria, called Candidatus Chloracidobacterium termophilum, in Octopus and Mushroom springs and the Green Finger Pool, not far from Old Faithful. The bacterium grows best in temperatures between 120 and 150 degrees Fahrenheit and could help researchers drastically increase production of biofuels.................... Rest of essay

thermal feature hot spring, blue water, orange bactaria, Yellowstone National Park
Hot springs and thermophile bacteria, create pretty colors

Summary

I have had the pleasure of living in the Greater Yellowstone Region since 1987 and I find new things every time I venture into the park. When I am not there I still marvel about the Yellowstone that comes to me via newspaper and computer. Dynamic is and understatement for a place that can both blow us up because of it’s volcanic nature or cure our cancer oddly enough because how its volcanic nature produces microbes that are pivotal in medical research.

As I photographer I find the place and its critters pure magic. As an inquisitor of life I find Yellowstone dynamics is pure fascination. As a fly-fisherman Yellowstone has proven to be Nirvana.

Daryl L. Hunter • Publisher - Greater Yellowstone Resource Guide

 

 

Yellowstone News

The Greater Yellowstone Resource Guide suports Wyoming Wildlife Advocates. Wyoming Wildlife Advocates formed to promote a rational, science-based approach to wildlife management throughout the state of Wyoming. WWA will encourage policies that will maintain a healthy, natural balance — or dynamic equilibrium —between predator and prey species. We acknowledge that fluctuations occur among populations, but we believe this is natural and that the hand of man must lay lightly upon the reins. Wyoming Wildlife Advocates,

Northern lights inspire local photographers

The northern lights put on a show this week, to the delight of sky watchers and photographers from Bozeman to West Yellowstone.

"It looked crazy Monday night," said Jeremy Weber, editor of the West Yellowstone News. "It's one of the most amazing things you get to see in nature."

Weber knew the aurora borealis would be visible thanks to the Soft Serve News website, which forecast about an hour ahead of time when the lights will be strong................ rest of story

Northern lights over Fall Creek Falls in Swan Valley Idaho. Photo by Daryl L.Hunter

 
Kayakers, Leigh Lake, Grand Teton National Park
Kayakers enjoying a day onLeigh Lake in Grand Teton National Park

Buffalo Can't Be Trusted
By Keith R. Crowley

If you've ever looked into the eyes of a testosterone-infused bull elk at a distance of about 6 ft, you know what pure wild fury looks like. The last time it happened to me I was too petrified to move (or take photos!). Likewise, the look bison sometimes get in their eyes sends shivers down my spine. This usually happens during the early-autumn breeding period, but bison are completely unpredictable and they can go off at any time of year............ rest of story

Bison, buffalo, old faithful, yellowstone national Park
James Walks Along gets kicked out of Wyoming Game and fish grizzly bear meeting
At a Yellowstone Ecosystem Subcommittee / Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee meeting last week, James Walks Along who is the historic preservation officer for the Northern Cheyenne tribe, was thrown off the stage and refused opportunity to speak on behalf of his tribe. Photo courtesy of GOAL Tribal Coalition

Tribes 'disrespected' by federal and state officials in Grizzly Bear delisting fight
By Elizabeth Wolf

CODY, Wyo. – James Walks Along was forced to abandon an address to the Yellowstone Ecosystem Subcommittee (YES) of the joint federal and state Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee (IGBC) by Brian Nesvik, IGBC Chair and Wyoming Game and Fish Department (WGFD) Wildlife Division Chief, at the committee's spring meeting in Cody, Wyoming.

As usual, the government doesn't give a crap about America's Natives. ................... Rest of Story

Addendum to story ~

Tribes seek removal of federal grizzly bear czar

Publisher's note:  The government isn't going to let anyone stand in their way of delisting grizzy bears because hunts will sell for $30,000 and money trumps nature.

Twelve Tribal Nations have called on Interior Secretary Sally Jewell to remove the US Fish and Wildlife Service's (FWS) Grizzly Bear Recovery Coordinator, Dr. Chris Servheen, after questioning his "fitness to participate in this process."........ More

 

The extreme DISRESPECT shown to the Northern Cheyenne Nation by Wyoming State public officials, extended across Indian Country to all nations as James Walks Along ( a THPO representative speaking on behalf of his tribal president) was asked to leave.

At the YES-IGBC spring meeting in Cody, WY, Dan Thompson of Wyoming Game and Fish gave a presentation entitled '"Grizzly Bear Management on Tribal Lands - Collaborations between WGFD, USFWS, and IGBST." There was no tribal input to the presentation, but alarmingly, when James Walks Along rose on behalf of the Northern Cheyenne tribal government, to present their recently passed tribal resolution, his microphone was unplugged and he was told to get off the stage.

James Walks Along later said... "I was shocked by the disrespect I received from the Fish and Wildlife Service. They disrespected me and my tribe by not allowing me to read the Northern Cheyenne tribe's resolution in opposition to delisting and trophy hunting the grizzly bear... They literally pulled the plug on me and escorted me out. Men approached me and I felt like I was being threatened. I was expecting security to escort me out, and that's the first time anything like that has happened to me. This showed disdain toward the government to government process, and it was disrespectful to all tribes.

The Bears are out

Spring his sprung and the bears are roaming the lowlands.  May and June are the best times for bear viewing before the bears head for the high country were we have so few roads.

Snowy grizzly bear family, Grand teton National Park
Two Wolves, Grand Teton National Park, Grand Tetons

Wolf pack is biggest in West

The largest wolf pack known to exist in the American West roams the Gros Ventre hill country about 30 miles northeast of Jackson.
At last count there were 24 members of the Lava Mountain Pack, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service annual monitoring reports show. While far from unprecedented historically, a wolf pack two dozen strong has nine more members than any other pack surveyed this year in Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Washington or Oregon, state and federal reports indicate. "That's a very large pack," said Mike Jimenez, the service's Northern Rocky Mountain wolf coordinator.----------> rest of story

A Case for Collars • By Keith Crowley

As a wildlife photographer I have a real love/hate relationship with radio telemetry collars.  All photographers live in a world of aesthetics, and most wildlife photographers try capture natural animal behavior in natural settings with as little apparent human influence as possible. Even something as ephemeral as a jet's vapor trail in the sky can destroy a wild image. The permanence of collars (and ear tags, too) placed by human hands on wild animals is impossible to ignore.......................For my part, I think are few truly valid reasons not to collar wolves in Yellowstone. But there is also one really good one, and in the interest of open discussion, some points are worth exploring:..............rest of story

wolf photo gallery, wolf photos for sale

Yellowstone roadside grizzlies worth rangers' hassle???

Yellowstone visitors would pay an additional $41 to ensure seeing roadside grizzlies, a study shows, and the attraction creates 155 jobs and more than $10 million a year for the regional economy. The $41 visitors would pay is on top of the $25-per-vehicle entrance fee. If Yellowstone no longer allowed grizzly bears to use roadside habitat — and instead chased, moved or killed them — the regional economy would lose more than $10 million a year and 155 jobs according to the paper "The economics of roadside bear viewing."............................Rest of story

Helpful ebook for photographers

The Grand Teton Photo and Field Guide is an encapsulation of the flora, fauna, and photography of Jackson Hole Wyoming and Grand Teton National Park. Also included are thumbnails of the history and geology of the valley. This book is for all visitors with a desire to seek out wildlife, photograph the landscape, or merely learn about the history, geology, and lay of the land of Grand Teton National Park. The author provides general overviews including hot links with more in-depth descriptions of subjects of individual interest.

In the “Lay of the Land” section, includes the obvious highlights along the loop through Grand Teton Park. Hot links to side roads will give you more in-depth description of side roads and feeder roads and their highlights. Also included are descriptions of all two-rut roads that are legal to travel on in Grand Teton Park. GPS links to Google Maps are provided throughout.

As a field guide, profiles of most of animals and birds in the area are described. Jackson Hole is full of wildlife but there are places where animals are, and there are places where they are not. It is a waste of time to scrutinize a landscape devoid of what you are looking for, so this guide narrows options down to the hot spots. I provide maps of the likeliest places to find the popular critters of Grand Teton National Park. I also touch on trees, shrubs, and wildflowers with minimal explanations.  

The grandeur of Grand Teton Park has made it one of the most photographed places in the world. The opportunity to harness multiple juxtapositional elements has drawn photographers for over a century since William Henry Jackson took the first photos here in 1878. Grand Teton Park’s plethora of famous vistas are profiled as well as many which are less clichéd that can bring new perspectives of a well-documented landscape. Grand Tetons’ iconic landscape photo opportunities are described in detail; however, they barely scratch the surface of opportunities as it takes a photographer with an artist’s eye to unveil as they follow their own intuition and vision.  The author who shies away from clichéd landscapes provides a chapter of his favorite places that aren’t landscape clichés.

In the photography section the author includes chapters on composition, exposure basics, when to shoot and why. Daryl has summarized what he teaches in his, half day, Grand Teton workshops in a simple concise way.

If you are only in Grand Teton Park for a day there is a chapter called the “Portfolio Packer Morning Trip,” that does just that, all the icons and several favorite places in a five our blitz.  But it is better to spend more time and dig deep into the embarrassment of riches of Grand Teton National Park................. More Info

Yellowstone National Park: highlights

Locals like to say there's never a bad day in Yellowstone. But some activities are better than others. Near the top of my list is a slow drive along the north shore of Yellowstone Lake. The easy trail to Storm Point is worth a half hour's walk, or more if the wind is calm and the boulders are comfortable for sitting. A few miles east, a side road leads to Lake Butte Overlook which offers views across North America's largest alpine lake to the Teton range 100 miles south. This is a good place to be at sunset........................ rest of story

Yellowstone Volcano Warning?

Yellowstone National Park is fighting viral rumors that the park's bison are fleeing an impending supervolcano eruption. Officials told Reuters that they've been fielding dozens of calls and emails since a video of galloping bison went viral this week in the wake of an earthquake at Yellowstone. They said the video actually shows the animals running down a paved road that leads deeper into the park................. rest of story

Grand Prismatic spring panorama, print for sale
Grand Prismatic Spring, the largest hot spring in Yellowstone National Park