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.

The Yellowstone grizzly bear’s chances for survival

Categories: News, Wildlife
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The question of whether or not the grizzly bear should be removed from the Endangered Species List is still being studied. The Interagency Grizzly Bear Study Team will present its report December 11 in Missoula, MT. Grizzlies may not really be at risk, their report says, since the bears do not depend greatly on the now-relatively-scarce whitebark pine nuts for late-season food preparing them for hibernation, as many knowledgeable people have asserted. Instead, they are turning more to meat and foraging at lower elevations than previously. “A 75 percent reduction in whitebark numbers since 2002 isn’t cause for worry,” states the study’s report.

But other bear experts disagree that the grizzly population is out of danger. A retired bear biologist stated that three of the bears’ four main sources of food have declined recently: “We’ve got catastrophic loss of whitebark pine, catastrophic loss of cutthroat trout, and major declines in numbers of elk. [Only] army cutworm moths are hanging in there,” he told the Jackson (WY) News and Guide.

For my money, it looks like this bear population of Greater Yellowstone, which is variously stated as between 600 and 700-plus individuals, is not out of danger yet. The entire article by Mike Koshmrl is called “Pine Decline OK for Grizzly.”

No posts from me next week, since I’ll be attending the American Geophysical Union annual meeting to learn more about new research pertaining to Yellowstone.

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Holiday Bells will soon be ringing in Yellowstone, too!

Categories: News, Trip planning, Winter
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The winter season opens December 15th in Yellowstone Park. It’s a wonderful time to see the park in its coat of ice and snow. Reservations for snowcoach travel and for rooms in Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel and in Old Faithful Snow Lodge can be made through the concessionaire Xanterra at: 307-344-7311. This year they are also running a shuttle from the airport in Bozeman, Montana, to Mammoth, so you will not need to drive at all.

For your winter or summer trips, treat yourself and friends to copies of Yellowstone Treasures: The Traveler’s Companion to the National Park. This year’s Updated Fourth Edition is available from our website at a 20% discount from now through January 20, 2014. Just go to the Guidebook page for the print version, and use “Holidays” as the discount code.

You can buy the Kindle, Nook, and iPad versions at online vendors—sorry, we do not sell e-books from our website.

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An unlikely place for an article: “An Unlikely Look at Yellowstone’s Geysers”—and Fall Closure begins soon

Categories: News, On the Web, Thermal features, Trip planning
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The website Weather.com just came up with this beautiful collection of close-ups of the amazing variety of colors found around Yellowstone’s hot springs:

http://www.weather.com/news/science/unlikely-look-yellowstones-geysers-photos-20131030

Just now you have only through this coming Sunday, November 3, to take in all the treasures of the park, since all but the Gardiner to Northeast Entrance road will be closed as of Monday for the annual fall-into-winter break. This is when the park’s natural features and the animals, including two-legged ones who work there, get a break from the pressures of visitors.

Reopening to snowcoaches, snowmobiles, and skiers begins on December 15 this year (snow accumulation permitting), except for the East Entrance Road, which will open on December 22. The winter season continues until mid March. Then there’s another break for road plowing until late April 2014.

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Yellowstone reopens

Categories: News, Trip planning
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In case anyone is looking for assurance that s/he can now visit Yellowstone for the tail end of its summer and fall season, I will pass on the official URL with details of what is and what is not open. Today all the national parks are allowed to restore their usual welcome to all visitors. Hooray!

http://www.nps.gov/yell/parknews/13091.htm

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Saddest shut-down story yet

Categories: News
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Megan Wenk had planned her wedding for this month at beautiful Artist Point overlooking the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River in Yellowstone Park. The rehearsal dinner was to be at Mammoth Hotel.

With the national parks all closed, she has had to change the venues where her guests from far and wide will stay and be entertained to sites north of the park.

Who is Megan Wenk? The daughter of Yellowstone National Park Superintendent Dan Wenk, who said, “It wasn’t appropriate for us to do it in the park. We’re no different from anybody else.”

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Here’s your chance to learn what Yellowstone was like in 1883

Categories: Janet Chapple's Other Writing, News, Yellowstone, Land of Wonders
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Excellent travel writer Jules Leclercq traveled across the U.S. by train and throughout the then-new Yellowstone National Park on horseback and wrote an engaging account of his experiences. Co-translators/editors Janet Chapple (author of Yellowstone Treasures) and Suzanne Cane (French teacher and librarian) will read some of his revelations and show engravings from his book, La Terre des Merveilles, and contemporary photographs in a series of programs this coming winter and spring: Yellowstone, Land of Wonders. Previous presentations have been enjoyed in Rhode Island, the Bay Area of California, and at Mammoth and Old Faithful in Yellowstone.

— Thursday, February 6 at 7pm: Barrington Public Library, 281 County Rd., Barrington, RI. (Suzanne alone).

— Tuesday, April 8 at lunch time: The Atheneaum, Benefit Street, Providence, RI. (Suzanne alone).

Other dates to follow.

[edited 10/10/13]

Learn more at Suzanne’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/YellowstoneLandOfWonders?ref=stream&filter=1

Leclercq_profilepicture

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Winter use plan for Yellowstone, 2013

Categories: News, Winter
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If you are thinking of a winter trip to the park, you may be concerned about what the access will be like this winter by snowmobile or snowcoach. Plans that have been tossed about and changed repeatedly in the past decade or more have now been revised once again. The new plan will take effect in the 2014–15 season. During this coming season there will be no change in the daily quotas for the two types of oversnow vehicles.

Having enjoyed four winter trips to the park over the years, I would like to see fewer snowmobiles, but the technology for them has been much improved between my first winter visit in 1988—when West Entrance rangers wore gas masks to protect themselves from the snowmobile exhaust—and my most recent visit in 2012: http://www.yellowstonetreasures.com/nuggets/winter-in-yellowstone-part-1

I disagree with opening the dangerous East Entrance over Sylvan Pass to any access in the winter months, since the expense of keeping it open is unreasonable considering the relatively few people who take advantage of that access.

A complete discussion of the new winter plan can be found at the excellent National Parks Traveler website:
http://www.nationalparkstraveler.com/2013/08/yellowstone-national-parks-winter-use-plan-gains-approval23795

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Breaking News: Steamboat Geyser Erupts!

Categories: News, Thermal features
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Last evening, July 31st, 2013, at 7:30 pm the tallest, most powerful geyser in twenty-first century Yellowstone National Park erupted for the first time since May 23, 2005.

The eruption was reported by one visitor and confirmed by Park Geologist Hank Heasler from an electronic monitor.

Geyser gazers will be congregating at Steamboat in Norris Geyser Basin hoping for a renewal of frequent activity from this remarkable geyser.

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Yellowstone Treasures, Updated Fourth Edition

Categories: News
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I just got in trouble with TripAdvisor for mentioning something on their website [July 2013]. Sorry about that, but someone wanted to know how much difference there would be between the third and fourth editions of this guidebook, and I offered to send the person an autographed copy of the fourth edition from those copies I already have and told him or her another option would be to buy it from our website. My message must have lasted less than half an hour on there!

Here is what we have put out describing how the 2013 edition differs from the previous one: Covering everything there is to know about the world’s first and most diverse national park, the fourth edition of this bestselling guide to Yellowstone boasts more facts, anecdotes, history, and travel tips than ever before. Mile-by-mile road logs document every approach to the park and every interior road. Through easy-to-understand explanations and diagrams, readers will learn of Yellowstone’s campgrounds and facilities, geyser basins and the frequency of the geysers, out-of-the-way hikes, and flora and fauna.

Updates to this edition include tinted tabs to indicate the six different regions of the park and their approach roads, in addition to the tabs in previous editions for the geological, historical, and natural history sections; up-to-date scientific information to reflect recent research, including two new geological diagrams; highlighted historic items in the road logs; a dozen new pictures; and fully revised maps to show recent road changes and other details. A four-page glossary and a twenty-page index round out this indispensable addition to any travel library.

My offer stands to my blog post readers. For as long as my supply lasts, as author and publisher I can send you an autographed copy of Yellowstone Treasures for your use this summer, but I can only accept personal checks and money orders. You can reach me for details at: janet@yellowstonetreasures.com.

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Trip report: Heart Mountain

Categories: News, Park environs, Trip Reports
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I’ve had good excuses to go to Yellowstone Park and environs at least once every year since 1995. That was the year I began researching and writing Yellowstone Treasures. I often try to do something new to me as well as catching my favorite geysers, hot springs, terraces and scenes (like Lower Falls and the Canyon of the Yellowstone River from Artist Point) that never fail to give me goose bumps.

Heart Mountain Interpretive CenterThe Heart Mountain Interpretive Center has been recommended to me since it opened in 2011, but this was the first time I was able to visit there [June 2012]. I made it this summer’s new attraction.

The exterior of the center itself is built to echo the construction of the barracks that housed 14,000 people between winter 1942, when a government order displaced all West Coast Japanese from their homes, and the end of that relocation in November 1945.

A movie about the camp explains to visitors how the camp came into being and how the internees made the best of their confinement there. Mementos and sample family quarters are on display. A knowledgeable docent is available to answer questions as you wander about the center’s displays.

Most impressive to me, in addition to how well these unfortunate people coped with their unreasonable confinement, were two facts. First, about 600 men from Heart Mountain enlisted or were drafted into the armed forces during the war, including the highly decorated 442nd Combat Team. Then, among the interned Japanese were people who understood how to use the barren land around them. They repaired and lined the irrigation ditch from the nearby Buffalo Bill Reservoir, turned it onto fertile fields, and eventually grew 45 different crops—enough to feed the camp, preserve some for winter use, and even send food to other internment camps.

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