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.

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: 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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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

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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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Proposed fee changes for national parks

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The National Park Service has announced a proposal to charge larger fees for seventeen of its most popular parks, beginning next spring. I learned about this through the excellent KQED California Bay Area radio program, “Forum,” and considered registering a comment with the NPS.

Considering the dire condition that many of our parks are now in due to underfunding by the federal government, it probably makes sense to raise entrance fees for people who are actually using these parks, especially during the busiest seasons (May through September for Yellowstone).

A caller to the program brought up the subject of charging more for people from other countries than for U.S. citizens—a thought that had also crossed my mind while I was listening. After all, when Congress passed the 1872 act setting aside Yellowstone, the very first national park in the world, they stipulated that it was “for the benefit and enjoyment of the people,” and chances are they were thinking of American people. Whether or not charging more for foreign visitors is a good idea (and I’m not sure it is), that is not a consideration included in the present proposed fee change.

Decide for yourself whether this fee hike would be a wise move by going to: [link] the NPS website.

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2017 national parks photo contest

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Artemisia Geyser near Biscuit Basin

Happy National Public Lands Day! Did you know that admission to all U.S. national parks is free today? National Public Lands Day is always on a Saturday in late September, and some parks hold special events.

To celebrate, we would like to be sure you know about the Official Federal Recreation Lands Photo Contest, “Share the Experience.” This contest is sponsored by the National Park Foundation and Through December 31, 2017, amateur photographers are invited to submit photos that highlight the best of America’s federal lands, national parks, and historical sites in various categories. The grand prize includes getting your image on the Annual Federal Recreational Lands Pass (2019), which is distributed to over 300,000 people annually, plus $10,000 and a bunch of camera gear. Wouldn’t it be cool to see an image from Yellowstone National park on the pass? The 2nd and 3rd prizes also include money and camera gear. You can see the winning photos from 2016 as well as more recent photos in the gallery at the Share the Experience website. That is also the place to learn about the contest rules and guidelines.

—Enjoy! Beth Chapple, Editor and Publisher

Photo Credit: Janet Chapple, June 2015. You can reach Artemisia Geyser’s beautiful pool and formation in one of two ways. One is by walking beyond Riverside Geyser about half a mile up what used to be the main road and is now a rather rough trail past Morning Glory Pool (page 95 in Yellowstone Treasures) or by parking at Biscuit Basin and crossing the road to reach the other end of the trail from Morning Glory Pool.

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Road Closure in Fall 2017

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Map from the guidebook’s Mammoth to Norris road log

In the most recent edition of Yellowstone Treasures you’ll find this note: “Construction on the Norris to Mammoth road is scheduled to continue through 2018.” Here is the latest report on the construction.

Since June 11, the Norris to Mammoth road has been closed nightly from 10 pm to 7 am (excluding Saturday nights). The word is to expect 30-minute delays in the daytime when driving between Roaring Mountain (the magenta dot east of the road on this map) and the Indian Creek Campground (the tent icon down a short side road, almost opposite the Sheepeater Cliff picnic area). According to trip reports on the Facebook group Yellowstone Up Close and Personal, the daytime delays are usually not as long as 30 minutes.

The important news is that from September 10 (10 pm) to October 6 (7 am), this section of road will be closed to all traffic (day and night). During the closures, people will be able to detour over Dunraven Pass (between Tower Fall and Canyon).

Norris and Indian Creek Campgrounds, at opposite ends of the road segment, are remaining open during the season. During the road closure you will not be able to see Apollinaris Spring, nor Obsidian Cliff, nor will you be able to hike the Mount Holmes Trail. You can still hike the Bunsen Peak Trail from the north.

Remember to check the National Park Service’s Park Roads page before you head out.

CREDIT: Linton Brown revised this map for Yellowstone Treasures, Updated Fifth Edition (2017). You can find it on page 277.

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Hear about Yellowstone Books in Montana

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Janet Chapple with First Edition Yellowstone Treasures

The author with the first edition of the Yellowstone Treasures guidebook in 2002

Author Janet Chapple is always happy to talk about Yellowstone National Park and her two books on the subject. She will be speaking at two bookstore events in Montana this month. June 14 is her appearance at This House of Books in Billings, a co-op store that has posted a nice image of a watercolor from Through Early Yellowstone to the blog on their website. On June 22 you can catch her presentation and book signing at Country Bookshelf in Bozeman. I will also be in attendance. You’ll find more details about both talks on our events page. Hope to see you there!

—Editor and Publisher, Beth Chapple

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Man outsmarts fish—at last: The current ways to battle lake trout

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Lake trout (Salvelinus namaycush) have caused a near-disaster in Yellowstone Lake, starting more than two decades ago.

The new edition of Yellowstone Treasures says: “Although some larger lakes of southern Yellowstone were intentionally stocked with lake trout long ago, these large predator trout, illegally introduced into Yellowstone Lake in 1994, have caused a drastic reduction in the lake’s cutthroat trout that may never be reversed. However, the combined NPS/Yellowstone Park Foundation aggressive efforts—gillnetting and electrofishing—had begun to pay off by 2012, and lake trout numbers are now declining each year, while cutthroat trout numbers are increasing. Researchers now know where the lake trout spawn, and some eggs can be killed. Meanwhile, anglers must kill all lake trout and either eat them or puncture the air bladder and dispose of the carcass in deep water.”

Ted Koel and his team are now using “Judas fish” to lead them to schools of lake trout, and they employ aircraft to locate the tagged lake trout. As this year’s fishing season opens in Yellowstone, you can read all about it in this recent Powell Tribune article by Mark Davis.

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Montana Public Radio and the history of North American bison

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If you, like me, are enjoying the comforts of home on this long weekend instead of fighting the crowds on the roads or in the airports, I’d like to recommend a series of podcasts I learned about last month but have not had time to absorb before. Amy Martin and associates at Montana Public Radio have put together “Threshold,” a series of episodes that dramatizes the story and importance of bison to the Native American Indians. It is an amazingly well-researched and well-presented program and worth a listen to its seven half-hour-long episodes.

When I first tuned into this on my computer, I didn’t realize that you could click on the thumbnail slides and get your own slideshow related to the history being revealed by the dialog. Now I’m hooked and will somehow make time to listen to this entire series before I leave for Yellowstone on June 12th.

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News about Yellowstone opening weekend

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Today is the first day you can drive into the park from the North or East Entrance. What’s more, those of us stuck at home can now get predictions of the daytime eruptions of Old Faithful Geyser on the NPS website.

But, if you are anything like me, you are mostly celebrating that the time for your summer trip to this wonderful park is drawing nearer. Just one thing that may give us pause as we contemplate the sights we are anticipating seeing: the crowds are likely to be amazingly large.

Here are links to a University of Montana report (2.7 MB pdf file) on 2016 crowding in that state’s two national parks and a shorter summary of the report, emphasizing Yellowstone, by Sean Reichard of

If you should happen to be one of the people driving into Yellowstone this weekend, you may want to take part in tomorrow’s Earth Day Walk for Science at Old Faithful. This echoes the Washington, DC, Walk for Science. As an ever-curious non-scientist, if I lived anywhere near the park, I would certainly want to participate in that.

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