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

All posts tagged visitors

Late summer visitors—Don’t miss the new visitor center at Old Faithful!

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For everyone planning to be in Yellowstone later this month [August 2010], you are invited to attend the dedication of the large new Visitor Education Center that has gone up during the past year and more at Old Faithful. The center will be dedicated at 11:00 am on August 25th in a ceremony with Superintendent Suzanne Lewis, special guest National Park Service Director Jon Jarvis, and keynote speaker Paul Schullery, a Yellowstone historian and author of many books about the park.

For children of Junior Ranger age (5 to 12) there’s to be a Yellowstone Wildlife Olympics that day at 1:00 pm. For details see: http://ypf.convio.net/site/News2?page=NewsArticle&id=5415.

The Yellowstone Park Foundation is proud to tell us that the new building uses about one-third less energy than other similar size buildings, contains high percentages of recycled materials, and that interior furnishings contain raw materials such as cork, flax, and wheat for sustainability.

And here is yesterday’s news about park visitation: More than 957,000 visitors entered Yellowstone in July 2010. That’s the most ever recorded for any single month.

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Honolulu beats Yellowstone?

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Here’s a short outdoors blog by Brett French that I just have to pass on. My sentiments exactly!
http://billingsgazette.com/lifestyles/recreation/gazoutdoors/article_aa8f5cc2-8b8a-11df-a252-001cc4c03286.html

Let’s send the crowds to Hawaii—but no, for all the geyser gazers, wolf watchers, hikers, backcountry explorers, waterfall fans, fisherpeople, bird watchers, wildflower enthusiasts, photographers, and kids ready to learn about nature, not to mention snowmobilers, cross-country skiers, and winter wonderland sight-seers in the winter, let’s still encourage frequent and extended visits to Yellowstone. And help the Montana and Wyoming economies, too.
The park doesn’t seem to need any promotion, though. Now that it’s summer season [2010], another record year for visitation seems to be underway.

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2009: A good year for Yellowstone and for “Yellowstone Treasures”

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Visitation to Yellowstone Park set a record of 3.29 million in 2009, despite the recession and last winter’s relatively low number of snow-time vacationers. According to the Billings Gazette (disclosure: that’s my hometown newspaper):

The previous record for visitation, 3.15 million people, was set in 2007. The numbers in 2009 were 7.5 percent above 2008’s 3.06 million visitors and 4.6 percent above 2007.
The increase in park visits could reflect free access on two summer weekends, attention from a new PBS television series on national parks and relatively low gasoline prices.

For the whole January 5th article, see: “Record number visited Yellowstone in 2009“.

Just for my own edification, I compared last year’s sales of Yellowstone Treasures with those of 2007 and 2008 and found that 41% more books were sold in 2009 than in 2007 and 38% more than in 2008. In addition to the factors mentioned in the Gazette article, I attribute that gratifying increase to a step-up in media publicity about the book and to word-of-mouth—especially when Amazon.com chose to include a copy of the guidebook in their sweepstakes week that offered a Yellowstone National Park tour and thousands of dollars of Canon photo equipment.

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Charrette for Yellowstone’s Old Faithful Village

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I thought I had a pretty good passive vocabulary. Then I came across the word charrette and hadn’t a clue what it meant. Out came the Merriam-Webster, but the word wasn’t there, so I tried my nine-pound Random House. Success! “A final, intensive effort to finish a project, especially an architectural design project, before a deadline.”

A five-day meeting this fall, which the organizers called a charrette, was about improving visitor experience in the Old Faithful area—before the centennial of the National Park Service in 2016. Goals included finding ways to improve vehicular and pedestrian circulation and allowing for visitors to access and learn about the geothermal features and the area’s rich history. Led by Planning and Design Chief Eleanor Williams Clark and with a final report funded by the Yellowstone Park Foundation, it came up with some interesting plans. The new visitor center, scheduled to open on August 25, 2010, is already set to present an all-new educational experience about the geothermal features. The preliminary charrette report and pictures are described in “Envisioning a More Serene Old Faithful Area.”

One of the experts at the charrette noted that, as his group was watching “a particularly long and spectacular eruption of Castle Geyser,” they realized that most of the crowd standing around Old Faithful Geyser, “probably didn’t even know it was there.” He continued, “If people were more aware of the other equally awe-inspiring features to see in the area—both natural and cultural—we would have less of a surge of pedestrian and vehicle traffic flowing away immediately after each Old Faithful eruption. Visitors would significantly improve their experience by exploring what the Upper Geyser Basin truly has to offer.”

I’m excited about the prospect of a new look for the area that I almost think of as my second home. This summer I celebrated the seventieth year since I first spent a summer at Old Faithful; my husband and I gave a small party in the Inn. I remember visiting the small ranger station and museum that was in the same spot where the huge new visitor center is now being completed. I am happy to think that many other people will be able to find and appreciate all the aspects of the Old Faithful area, and not just dash in, watch an eruption of the famous geyser, and go off somewhere else.

2009

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Autumn news about visiting Yellowstone

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The best news is that 2009 is proving to be a record year for Yellowstone visitation. Most roads are now closed, and snow pack is beginning to accumulate in many parts of the park, but through October the number of people visiting the park has never been higher. More than 3.2 million visitors entered the five gates from January through October. The National Park Service attributes the steep rise in visitation this year to people realizing that national park visits are a good value and to fuel prices remaining lower than in 2008. Three summer weekends when entrance fees were waived may also have contributed to the higher numbers.

This high visitation rubbed off on sales of Yellowstone Treasures, which, I’m happy to say, have never been better. Comments like these may have helped:

We have just received our copy of your wonderful book in the mail and we cannot put it down! My husband and I are planning our 4th trip to Yellowstone for this Fall. . . . We are so excited and even more so now that we have found your wonderful resource which will accompany us every step of the way.

The book was a magnificent guide that allowed my family (wife, two little girls ages 5 and 7, and their grandparents), to maximize every moment in this wonderful place. Incremental details, ease of info lookup, summary on prioritizing sites, lodging, etc. This book is just like a non-electronic GPS with supporting info, as the roads are relatively simple in the park. Our copy is treasured and tattered. . . .

Everything my traveling companions and I could want to know or need to know about the area within Yellowstone was within the nearly 400 pages of this book. The next time my friends and I go back to the park, we certainly will be making use of Ms. Chapple’s work. If you are planning to visit Yellowstone National Park, I strongly advise you to get a copy of this book beforehand yourself and keep it on hand as you traverse the park.

And I was delighted to find that Amazon is including a copy of Yellowstone Treasures with the Canon sweepstakes they will hold November 9-15.

Chalk up one more for Yellowstone: Fodors.com has a forum where someone asked whether Yellowstone or Yosemite would be a better choice as a vacation spot for taking children 11 and 13 next summer. Two of the comments were: “Yellowstone has such variety in natural settings, unique environments, and wildlife . . . “ and “There are plenty of ‘walks’—rather than hikes. Places where you park your car and walk about one-half mile along a nice path. . . . Don’t think of this trip as a drive-by Disney-type experience.” I can second that!

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Lots of people are visiting Yellowstone

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There may be a serious recession, but visitation to Yellowstone was up about 17% this May over May of 2008. Reports of unexpectedly large crowds in June have surfaced, too. Of course, gas cost about a dollar more per gallon last year than this, and that could contribute to whether or not people are willing to drive to the park.

For whatever reason, the large number of visitors is great for sales of Yellowstone Treasures. Many more third edition copies have been sold in the months of February through June than in those months of any other year, ever since the guidebook first appeared in 2002. And I owe a big “Thank you” to Justin “Paul Weimer,” whose super review just appeared on the book’s Amazon page. Such comments make all the work worth doing!

BTW, if anyone reading this should happen to come to Old Faithful Inn on Saturday or Sunday, July 25 or 26, I’ll be happy to sign your book, since I’ll be sitting in the lobby those days between 11:00 and 6:00. I’m celebrating 70 years since I first spent a summer in Yellowstone!

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