GRANITE PEAK PUBLICATIONS: Accompanying travelers to the national park since 2002

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Current events in the greater Yellowstone area or relating to Janet Chapple’s travels.

Until recently, two of the most popular places for you to buy a copy of Yellowstone Treasures: The Traveler’s Companion to the National Park were inside the park itself and from Amazon.com. But this year Yellowstone Forever has apparently made the decision (temporarily, we hope!) not to carry any guidebook they don’t publish themselves. The admirable nonprofit runs ten stores in the park, including a fairly big one at the Old Faithful Visitor Education Center and one at the Bozeman Airport. While you might look to snag a copy of our guidebook, with its sights arranged by road, when you first arrive in the park, the Yellowstone Forever stores don’t currently seem to stock any of the big guidebooks, perhaps to avoid appearing to favor one publisher over another.

Also, Amazon is having problems this week with distribution. Alhough they recently placed a large order from our distributor, yesterday the print book listing at Amazon read “Temporarily out of stock,” and today the message was “In stock on July 10, 2018.” (If you’d like the Kindle version, you can still buy that.) This Publishers Weekly article explains that Amazon is having trouble managing the truck deliveries from suppliers to their warehouses. And one reason for that might be their preparations for “Prime Day,” which is when Amazon Prime members see lower prices on many products. Prime Day is supposed to start at midday on July 16 this year.

Our advice to you is to buy a copy before you go. If you want it right away you have plenty of options:

  1. Find an independent bookstore (see Indiebound) and shop locally, buy from them online, or find one on your way to the park. One charming store is Country Bookshelf in Bozeman, Montana.
  2. Try Barnes & Noble, again either in person at a store convenient to you, or online. They often discount the price.
  3. Order right from this website at our bookstore. Our service is quite fast, and of course then you are supporting the publisher directly. We also offer 20% off when you buy two or more.
  4. Contact our distributor Independent Publishers Group, either online or by calling 1-800-888-4741. Best for trade buyers or when you want multiple copies.

I’ll leave you with a thought from reader Robert D. Rice, who wrote in his 5-star Amazon review on May 15, 2018: “Best guidebook I have ever read. No ambiguities, the descriptions and directions are very detailed. So many options available at every location I wish I had time to do it all. I love the focus on geology and I will enter Yellowstone almost like an old hand having studied this amazing book.”

Enjoy the park!
—Beth Chapple, Editor and Publisher

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View of Mount Moran with balsamroot wildflowers in Grand Teton National Park


After the proposal to raise the admission cost for Yellowstone and other US national parks (see the blog post on “Proposed fee changes for national parks”) was met with outrage, the raise was made somewhat more reasonable, but with one big change. You used to be able to get into both Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks with one fee for a week, but the combined seven-day entrance pass to the two neighboring national parks ended on May 31.

As of June 1, here are the costs for a seven-day entrance pass for each park.
o Private, non-commercial vehicle, $35
o Motorcycle, $30
o Individual (by foot, bicycle, etc.), $20

Depending on your plans, it may make sense for you to buy the annual pass for Yellowstone at $70 or the annual pass for all federal lands for $80. And if you have a fourth grader in your family or you are a US citizen or permanent resident over the age of 62 you have even better passes available to you. For more information, visit the Fees & Passes page on the NPS website.

–Beth Chapple, Editor and Publisher

Credit: Photo by Beth Chapple, June 20, 2017.

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Sorry to say, I *did* leave out at least one of Lee’s books about Yellowstone in my tribute to him. In 2007 he published Storytelling in Yellowstone: Horse and Buggy Tour Guides, a great contribution to lovers of the park. The book contributes a lot to our knowledge of the men who spread their expertise—usually gained from long experience and exploration—to visitors they led around the geyser basins or escorted around the park.

Reviewing just now the “Bibliographic Essay” of this book, I am proud to come across these sentences: “Yellowstone guidebooks (the first one appeared in 1873) are legion. Janet Chapple’s Yellowstone Treasures (Providence: Granite Peak Publications, 2002) is my recent favorite in this category.

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I’d like to follow up on the delightful biography of Park Historian Lee H. Whittlesey, posted by Liz Kearney on May 30th on the Yellowstone Insider website. Lee retired a month ago from his long-held position and gave up his office in the Yellowstone Heritage and Research Center building.

Every time I’ve been in the park since 1995, I’ve asked Lee for a visit, which he has kindly granted. Lee has been essential to every bit of the research and writing I’ve done there. I remember the first time I timidly asked to interview him with one of the endless lists of questions I generate between my yearly (or sometimes more frequent) visits to the park. From our first visit on, he put me at ease and directed me to all the sources I’ve needed.

I find it hard to think of continuing my Yellowstone research without the rock-solid assistance of Yellowstone’s fabulous historian. Here is a list of his books and National Park Service publications that I own. I may be missing some—but I hope not.
Death in Yellowstone: Accidents and Foolhardiness in the First National
Park
(1st ed., 1995; 2nd ed., 2014)
Gateway to Yellowstone: The Raucous Town of Cinnabar on the Montana Frontier
History of Mammoth Hot Springs (2010 draft)
A History of the Old Faithful Area
Yellowstone Place Names (1st ed., 1988; 2nd ed. 2006); Yellowstone Nomenclature (2012 disc)
Article in “Annals of Wyoming,” Vol. 88, No. 3, Summer, 2016: “G. L. Henderson: From New York Free-Thinker to Yellowstone Gentleman of Science”
—And with Elizabeth A. Watry:
Ho! For Wonderland: Travelers’ Accounts of Yellowstone, 1872–1914 (2009)
Yellowstone National Park, Images of America series: largely, historic photos with detailed captions (2008).

I will remain in contact with Lee for as long as possible. He has planned a “retirement” full of the writing projects he has not yet had time to complete.

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Springtime changes

Categories: Flora and Fauna, News, Science
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Western Tiger salamanders

A sign of spring: adult Western Tiger salamanders come out from hibernation in late April to June, depending on elevation, and migrate to breeding ponds where they lay their eggs.


To keep abreast of the changes in the park for Yellowstone Treasures, we (author and editor) must consult a variety of sources. One of the best is the official national park site itself, which issues alerts and press releases, plus reports on the road conditions.

For example, an alert issued yesterday tells us that although Norris Campground was scheduled to open Friday, May 18, the opening will be postponed. In preparing for the spring opening, they discovered leaks in the water lines, and there’s no potable water. The savvy traveler needs to check that kind of information too!

Since changes to the park’s roads, trails, geysers, fees, and even scientific knowledge are so frequent, we have a lot to check for every edition of Yellowstone Treasures. For this spring’s second printing of the guidebook, we made enough changes that we changed the title page to read “Newly revised for 2018.” Soon we will start an occasional series outlining some of the revisions to give you a flavor for what has changed, called “Updated for 2018.”

—Beth Chapple, editor and publisher

Photo credit: The picture of Yellowstone’s only salamander is an NPS photo by Jeff Arnold.

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Getting ready for the summer season

Categories: News, Trip planning
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Kudos to Sean Reichard for keeping us up-to-date on various Yellowstone issues!

First, I was glad to learn from yellowstoneinsider.com that Superintendent Dan Wenk will not be leaving Yellowstone soon, as reported recently. He has been doing an excellent job. I was privileged to meet him during a January 2012 Tauck Tour of the Park.

Today, I learned from Sean that as of June first, 2018, not only will the fee to enter either Yellowstone or Grand Teton go up from $30 to $35 (good for one week), but one can no longer buy a joint annual pass to both parks.

At least, we can be thankful that after strong negative reaction from the public, the fees did not rise to the originally proposed $70.

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Is It Spring Yet? and What To Expect on Yellowstone’s Roads This Summer

Categories: News, Trip planning
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Once upon a time, a friend of mine who lives in Switzerland offered to meet me in a Yellowstone springtime to take pictures for my guidebook. He wrote that April would be a good time for him. But no, I wrote back, in April many roads are still closed, and the chances of more snow are still quite great. The park is totally closed for road plowing and other maintenance until mid April, and most facilities don’t open until some time in May.

Today we are four days past the first day of spring in the northern hemisphere, but this Old Faithful Geyser webcam still is what I found this morning on the Old Faithful webcam.

You will understand why spring is so late in Yellowstone, if you factor in that most auto-accessible areas in Yellowstone are at 7,000 to 8,000 feet (about 2,100 to 2,400 meters) in altitude. This spring the park roads will begin reopening on Friday, April 20th, when the West Entrance to Madison Junction, Mammoth Hot Springs to Old Faithful village, and Norris to Canyon Junction roads will open. Higher stretches of road open throughout May, with the last being the Northeast Entrance / Beartooth Highway opening on Friday, May 25th, for Memorial Day Weekend.

This summer season you can expect construction delays of up to thirty minutes on the five-mile stretch between Apollinaris Spring and Roaring Mountain (Mammoth to Norris road); on some parts of the rim roads and trails at the Canyon of the Yellowstone; and along the East Entrance Road between Indian Pond and Fishing Bridge.

Year-round, for Yellowstone road conditions, take a look at this NPS park roads website. Or you may receive Yellowstone road alerts from the National Park Service on your mobile phone by texting “82190” to 888-777; an automatic text reply will confirm receipt and provide instructions.

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Yellowstone Treasures named finalist in two book award contests

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Big news! On March 14, 2018, the Independent Book Publishers Association announced that Yellowstone Treasures: The Traveler’s Companion to the National Park, updated fifth edition (2017) is a finalist in the 30th annual IBPA Benjamin Franklin Awards in the travel category. This is a true honor, since finalist status with IBPA means the book will receive either a Gold or a Silver medal. The IBPA Benjamin Franklin Awards recognize excellence in book editorial and design in 55 categories. See this year’s finalists on the IBPA Book Awards page.

Then on March 20 we learned that the popular guidebook has been recognized as a finalist in the 20th annual Foreword INDIES Book of the Year Awards, too! The Foreword Reviews editorial team selected their finalists from more than 2,000 individual titles spread across 65 genres. The complete list of finalists for the Foreword INDIES awards can be found at: https://www.forewordreviews.com/awards/finalists/2017/. Winners are now being decided by a panel of judges across the country, reflecting Foreword’s readership of booksellers and librarians.

We’re glad the new cover, 65 new color photos, and updates to the geyser and wildlife viewing information have captured both IBPA’s and Foreword’s attention again this year.

Stay tuned. Winners of the IBPA Benjamin Franklin Awards will be announced during Publishing University in Austin, Texas, on April 6, 2018; the Foreword INDIES winners will be announced on June 15, 2018.

Read the full news release in the media kit or learn about our books’ previous awards.

—Editor and publisher, Beth Chapple

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Encourage teens to join the Youth Conservation Corps

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Yellowstone youth conservation corps members

Youth Conservation Corps members at Inspiration Point, Yellowstone National Park (NPS photo, circa 2012)


The National Park Service is announcing that the deadline to apply for one of the two month-long sessions at Yellowstone this summer is rapidly approaching: March 1, 2018. This will be the 29th straight year that the Youth Conservation Corps is offered in Yellowstone National Park. Sixty young people between the ages of 15 and 18 can participate in this program, which has educational, recreational, and work aspects. Teens help NPS staff with trail and campground restoration, resource management, visitor support, maintenance, and more. “Applicants should possess a positive attitude, a willingness and ability to work in a physically active outdoor program, and get along well with others,” according to the press release. What a great opportunity! For more information and to obtain the application, see the YCC page on the official Yellowstone National Park website.

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Good news for visitors to Mammoth Hot Springs

Categories: News, Trip planning, Winter
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Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel with snowcoaches in winter


I had learned a couple of years ago that the historic hotel at Mammoth Hot Springs would be closed during the winters of 2016-17 and 2017-18 for major reconstruction. Now plans have changed, according to the Public Affairs Office; right now you can reserve rooms for winter visits, starting on December 15th, with the dates similar to those for the Old Faithful Snow Lodge and Cabins. Visit Xanterra’s Winter Lodges page or call 1-307-344-7311 to book your room.

Starting in fall 2018 through winter season 2018–19 you will find the hotel closed again for further work on the interior, but I expect the related cabins, the dining room, and the casual Terrace Grill will be open.

Incidentally, in recent summers I’ve found meals in the pleasant hotel dining room—located across the street from the hotel proper—to be excellent. So far, this dining room has not required advance reservations, but that could change.

Photo credit: Jim Peaco, National Park Service, December 12, 2012

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