Montana Public Radio

Yellowstone National Park

Toll Of Government Shutdown Still Being Tallied At National Parks

Jan 30, 2019
Visitors to Yellowstone National Park explore the boardwalks near Old Faithful.
Courtesy National Park Service

Update: The original story, published Jan. 30, was updated on Jan. 31, with an additional statement from Sen. Steve Daine's office.

WEST YELLOWSTONE — Federal employees have returned to work at public lands throughout the nation, but the cost of keeping national parks open during the record-length partial government shutdown remains unknown.

Glacier National Park sign.
Nicky Ouellet / Montana Public Radio

National Parks in Montana are re-opening visitor centers and assessing how to move forward following the longest federal government shutdown in history.

Blue skies and sunshine made a rare appearance in Glacier National Park Monday morning as staff there returned to work after the 35 day partial federal government shutdown.

Snowcoaches like this one require groomed, snow-covered roads to take tourists to attractions like Old Faithful inside Yellowstone National Park in winter.
Eric Whitney / Montana Public Radio

The coalition of businesses that are keeping access to most of Yellowstone National Park open during the federal government shutdown are reaching out for help.

"Yellowstone is a large, dynamic park, and it touches all the communities in our region, and any assistance that can be provided from all of our partners to help keep Yellowstone open would be wonderful for the park," says Mike Keller, general manager for Xanterra Parks and Resorts in Yellowstone.

A guided snowmobile tour in Yellowstone National Park (File photo).
YellowstoneNPS (CC-BY-2.0)

A New York woman who crashed her snowmobile inside Yellowstone National Park Tuesday morning broke her leg and was thrown into the Madison River.

A Gallatin County Sheriff’s Department Facebook post said Yellowstone park rangers responded to a 911 call to rescue the 22-year-old woman near Riverside Drive, about six miles east of West Yellowstone.

Skiers and snowshoers hike behind a closed gate in Glacier National Park, Dec. 2018.
Nicky Ouellet / Montana Public Radio

An unprecedented move by the National Park Service could free up millions of dollars for staffing and cleaning-up trash and restrooms at Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks during the partial federal government shutdown.

Snow mobiles and snow coaches allow the 20,000 to 30,000 monthly winter visitors to Yellowstone National Park to reach sites like Old Faithful and the park's Grand Canyon.
Eric Whitney / MTPR

The company that struck a deal with Yellowstone National Park to pay park employees to keep the park open during the federal government shutdown says it’s willing to keep paying into February, but will have to re-evaluate if the shutdown lasts longer than that.

"Hopefully the government will resolve this matter before then," says Mike Keller, the general manager for Xanterra Parks and Resorts in Yellowstone. It operates the only hotels that stay open inside the park in winter.

Yellowstone Reports More Than 4 Million Visits In 2018

Dec 18, 2018
Tourists at Yellowstone Park's Grand Prismatic Spring.
Jacob W. Frank - National Parks Service (PD)

BOZEMAN, Mont. (AP) — Figures show that November was not an abnormally busy month for Yellowstone National Park.

The Bozeman Daily Chronicle reports park statisticians estimate the park had about 13,849 visits during the month, about a 3,000-visit increase over November 2017.

Grizzly bear in Yellowstone National Park.
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

The Montana Fish and Wildlife Commission voted today to adopt a rule to ready the state to manage grizzly bears in and around Glacier National Park if they’re removed from the endangered species list.

That rule sets mortality thresholds for grizzlies, which mean the state will manage for a total population of at least roughly 1,000 bears in part of an area known as the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem, home to the largest population of grizzlies in the lower 48. It also says the state will monitor connectivity of bears between ecosystems.

Wyoming Files Notice It Will Appeal Grizzly Bear Ruling

Dec 6, 2018
Grizzly bear in Yellowstone National Park.
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

CASPER, Wyo. (AP) — The state of Wyoming has filed notice it will appeal a judge's decision to restore federal protections for grizzly bears in and around Yellowstone National Park.

U.S. District Judge Dana Christensen ruled in September that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service erred in removing Endangered Species Act protections for the Yellowstone bears in 2017.

Grizzly bear.
(PD)

The Montana Fish and Wildlife Commission will vote on Monday to proceed with a rule related to the management of grizzly bears in and around Glacier National Park if the bears are removed from the endangered species list.

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