The Summer 2021 edition of the Yellowstone Visitor Guide for Yellowstone National Park (NP) in Idaho, Montana and Wyoming. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).
Yellowstone Visitor Guide Summer 2021 National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior 2nd Edition Welcome to Yellowstone National Park YE L L O W S T O N E I S A P L A C E L I K E N O O T H E R . Preserved within its boundaries are Old Faithful and the majority of the world's geysers and hot springs. An outstanding mountain wildland with clean water and air, Yellowstone is home of the grizzly bear and wolf and free-ranging herds of bison and elk. Centuries-old sites and historic buildings that refect the unique heritage of America's frst national park are also protected. Protect Yellowstone by following park rules. Yellowstone can also be a dangerous place, with boiling hot, acidic thermal features; cold lakes and swift waters; wild animals; and unpredictable mountain weather. Protect yourself by following park rules. Most park lodging and camping is reserved and full. If you don't already have a reservation, you are extremely unlikely to fnd overnight accommodations in the park or nearby. No camping or overnight vehicle parking is allowed in pullouts, parking areas, picnic grounds, or any place other than a designated campground. For more information, visit go.nps.gov/YELLcampgrounds and go.nps.gov/YELLlodging. Travel Alerts DEL AYS AT OLD FAITHFUL Expect delays of up to 15 minutes due to bridge repairs. Bison adults and calves (nicknamed red dogs) on the move in the Lower Geyser Basin. TOWER TO C ANYON ROAD CLOSED The road between Tower-Roosevelt and Canyon Village is CLOSED all year. MOUNT WASHBURN TR AILS CLOSED All trails to the top of Mount Washburn are CLOSED. See back page for details COVID-19 Safety Alert The National Park Service follows CDC guidance to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Check locally, on the park website, and in the park apps for updates and changes in park operations. Thank you for helping to keep yourself and others safe and healthy. Mammoth Hot Springs Tower-Roosevelt CLOSED Norris Canyon Village Keep Wildlife Wild Yellowstone is an incredible place to view wildlife. All the large mammals present when Yellowstone became a park in 1872 are here today: grizzly and If you are not yet fully vaccinated, wearing a mask is required in all black bears, wolves, mountain common areas in buildings owned, rented, or leased by the Nation- lions, elk, bison, pronghorn, al Park Service, including, but not limited to, park visitor centers, moose, and bighorn sheep. administrative ofces, lodges, gift shops, and restaurants; and outdoors where physical distancing cannot reasonably be maintained. You • Wildlife are dangerous. should practice physical distancing by maintaining at least 6 feet • Do not approach, encircle, (1.8 m) of distance between you and others. Masks are not required follow, or feed any animal. for those under the age of two or when actively eating or drinking. • Bison, bears, and elk injure and kill people. • Stay at least 100 yards (91 m) from bears and wolves. If you are fully vaccinated, wearing a mask and physically distancing are not • Stay at least 25 yards (23 m) from all other animals, including bison and elk. required indoors or outdoors unless otherwise posted. • If an animal moves closer to you, move away to maintain the appropriate distance. Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or use hand san• Do not stop on or block a road. itizer. Cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze. If you feel sick, • Use pullouts; stay in your car to watch animals. do not visit the park. • Store food and trash securely. Backpacks are not secure. • Do not feed any animals, even birds and squirrels. 6 feet 2 meters r . NATIONA< PARK ;;;: Yellowstone National Park National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior Emergency Information TTY Park Entrance Radio Dial 911 307-344-7381 307-344-2386 1610 AM Park Tip Line 307-344-2132 To report a crime or criminal activity. Facilities and Services Medical Services Accessibility ~ Cell Service Yellowstone emergency response A printed guide with accessibility information Cell phone service is very limited in the park and ambulance service is available at visitor centers. Info is also available and surrounding areas. General cell coverage Call 911 on the park website (go.nps.gov/YELLaccess) areas are shown on the map on the back page Text 911 is not available in Yellowstone. and in the park apps (see left). of this guide. Medcor provides medical care, from Qualifed service animals are welcome Emergency 911 service by cell phone is only emergencies to minor needs, at: throughout the park and in all park facilities. available in coverage areas. Text 911 is not • Mammoth Clinic However, they must be leashed and under your available in Yellowstone. Leave as much detail as you can. Remain 6/4–9/24 8:30a–5p daily anonymous, or leave a name and number. 1/1–6/3, 9/25–12/31 8:30a–5p M–F During peak hours and periods of heavy visita- (closed Fridays 1p) tion, the cellular network may be very slow. closed 5/31, 11/25–27, 12/24–25, 31, 1/1 Your provider may or may not roam on networks 307-344-7965 in Yellowstone. Free National Park Service Apps Enrich your Yellowstone experience with one of control at all times. • Lake Clinic two free, offcial apps: NPS 5/28–9/14 8:30a–8:30p daily As a courtesy to others, silence your mobile Yellowstone or National 9/15–9/19 10a–6:30p daily device while enjoying Yellowstone. Park Service. Both apps provide self-guided audio tours, accessibility information, and 307-242-7241 • Old Faithful Clinic detailed site and service information. Both 5/14–9/14 7a–7p daily allow you to download the content so you 9/15–10/1 8:30a–5p daily can use the app offine. The NPS Yellow- 307-545-7325 Wi-Fi Available for free: stone app is the only one to offer live • Albright Visitor Center geyser predictions, live road statuses, in Mammoth Hot Springs and in-depth interpretive stories. Data speeds are very limited outside of Follow @YellowstoneNPS Mammoth Hot Springs. Grizzly bear (Ursus arctos) near Obsidian Creek in late April. Lodging, Dining, and Tours As one of Yellowstone's offcial concession companies, Yellowstone National Park Lodges offers lodging, dining, camping, and a variety of tours and activities. Visit YellowstoneNationalParkLodges.com for the most up-to-date information, which may change due to COVID-19. For reservations and information, ask at park hotels, or contact Yellowstone National Park Lodges: Phone 307-344-7311, 866-439-7375 TDD 307-344-5395 Online YellowstoneNationalParkLodges.com Email Reserve-YNP@Xanterra.com Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel. 2 Yellowstone Visitor Guide Safety and Regulations IFE St DL ay froat l m eas be t 1 ar 00 sa y nd ard w s( ol 91 and ve m at l s ) fro eas m a t 25 ll o the yards r an (23 ima m) ls PP IL OT DO N A ! D G AN ER ROACH W Safe Parking X Unsafe Parking × × × × Watch Wildlife Safely Store Food Securely Park Safely Looking for Wildlife? • To conserve energy, most wildlife are active in the cool of dawn or dusk. • Animals are everywhere in the park, but it is easier to see them in open meadows and sagebrush than in dense forest. • Find a place with a broad view for your binoculars or spotting scope, and be prepared to wait. Do not feed any wildlife, including small mammals and birds. Eating human food is unhealthy and encourages aggressive behavior. Stopping, parking, or standing in the road is dangerous. Large vehicles have limited visibility. Other drivers may be distracted by wildlife and scenery. Stay aware of traffc at all times. All food, trash, and scented items must be kept inaccessible to bears at all times. Tents, truck beds, and picnic tables are not secure. In some areas, ravens have learned to unzip packs and scatter the contents. None of these items, even if clean and empty, may Protect Yourself and the Animals. Obey Park Rules. be left unattended at any time: • Spotlighting—viewing animals with artifcial light— • Water and beverage • Food, including condiments, is illegal. even if in containers containers • Calling to attract wildlife is illegal. You may not bugle • Cooking or eating utensils • Cosmetics and toiletries to elk, howl at wolves, or make bird calls of any kind. • Pet food and bowls • Stoves and grills • Tracking wildlife with electronic equipment is not • Coolers and ice chests • Pails, buckets, wash basins permitted. • Garbage, bagged or not • Use pullouts to stop. • Park with all four tires fully to the right of the white line. • When your vehicle is moving, keep doors closed and arms, cameras, and children inside. • Do not stop your vehicle in the road or block traffc in any way. • Do not stand in the road or block it with tripods, chairs, or other objects. • If wildlife are nearby, stay inside your vehicle. Enjoy watching Yellowstone’s animals but STAY SAFE. They are WILD and DANGEROUS. Other people 2 yards (2 m) Bison, elk, and all other wildlife Bears and wolves 25 yards (23 m) Drones Firearms 100 yards (91 m) Pets Launching, landing, or operating unmanned Firearms are allowed in national parks pursuant to state Pets are not allowed on trails or boardwalks, in the back- aircraft (drones) on lands and waters administered by the and federal regulations. They are prohibited in facilities where country, or in hydrothermal basins. Where allowed, pets must National Park Service is prohibited. signs are posted, such as visitor centers, government offces, and be leashed and remain within 100 feet (30.5 m) of a road or some concession operations. Discharge of frearms is prohibited. parking area. n Lost and Found ? Possession and use of weapons, such as air guns, bows and arrows, spears, and slingshots, is also prohibited. Details are avail- Do not leave a pet unattended, tied to an object, or without able at go.nps.gov/yell-laws. adequate food, water, shade, ventilation, or other basic needs. Call 307-344-5387 to report or retrieve items lost in lodging Owners must bag and dispose of pet waste. We recommend that facilities. In other parts of the park, call 307-344-2109 or look someone in your group remain with your pet at all times to per- online: go.nps.gov/lost-and-found. sonally ensure their well being. Summer 2021 3 Things to Do Camping ~ Yellowstone offers 12 campgrounds with over 2,000 sites. During the park's busy season, from the beginning of May through the fall, many campsites can be reserved ahead of time. Due to high demand, reservations are highly recommended. First-come, frst-served sites are available during the busy season at Indian Creek, Lewis Lake, and Pebble Creek campgrounds. A campsite at Pebble Creek Campground. No Overfow Camping There are no overfow camping areas available in Yellowstone. No camping or overnight vehicle parking is allowed in pullouts, parking areas, picnic grounds, or any place other than a designated campground. Additional camping may be available in neighboring communities. Check-In and Check-Out Yellowstone National Park Lodges campgrounds: check-in at 1pm, checkout at 11am. Length of Stay Camping is limited to 14 days from July 1 through Labor Day (frst Monday in September) and to 30 days the rest of the year. Discounts Holders of Senior and Access passes receive a 50 percent discount on camping fees. Quiet Hours From 10 pm to 6 am, no loud audio devices or other noise disturbances are allowed. National Park Service campgrounds: check-out at 10am. Group Camping Group camping (tents only) is available at Bridge Bay, Grant, and Madison for organized groups with a designated leader. Fees range from $139 to $409 plus tax and utility fee per night, depending on group size. Advance reservations are required at 307-344-5437 or email@example.com. Food Storage Boxes (see right) Available at each campsite at Indian Creek, Lewis Lake, Mammoth, Pebble Creek, and Slough Creek campgrounds. Many campsites in other campgrounds are also equipped with bear-proof storage boxes. Food storage box Campgrounds Reser vation Status Dates Rate Sites Elevation (f t /m) Features RV s it e s Mammoth Winter operations First-come, frst-served Jan 1 – Apr 30 Oct 16 – Dec 31 $25 38 6,200 ft (1,890 m) A, F, G, SB Most are pull-through Mammoth Summer operations All sites reservable recreation.gov May 1 – Oct 15 $25 85 6,200 ft (1,890 m) A, F, G, SB Most are pull-through M a di so n All sites reservable 307-344-7311 May 14 – Oct 17 $27 * 278 5,800 ft (2,070 m) A, F, DS, G Call for availability Canyon All sites reservable 307-344-7311 May 21 – Sep 19 $27 * 273 7,900 ft (2,410 m) A, F, L, DS, G Call for availability Bridge Bay All sites reservable 307-344-7311 Jun 11 – Sep 6 $27 * 432 7,800 ft (2,285 m) A, F, DS, G Call for availability Indian Creek First-come, frst-served Jun 11 – Sep 13 $20 70 7,300 ft (2,225 m) A, V, SB 10 sites are 35 ft 35 sites are 30 ft Pebble Creek Some sites reservable recreation.gov Jun 15 – Sep 27 $20 27 6,900 ft (2,100 m) A, V, SB Some long pull-throughs Slough Creek All sites reservable recreation.gov Jun 15 – Oct 12 $20 15 5,260 ft (1,905 m) A, V, SB 14 sites are 30 ft Lewis L ake First-come, frst-served Jun 15 – Nov 7 $20 85 7,800 ft (2,285 m) A, V, SB All sites are 25 ft or less Grant Village All sites reservable 307-344-7311 Jun 18 – Sep 12 $27 * 430 7,800 ft (2,285 m) A, F, L, DS, G Call for availability Norris CLOSED Fishing Bridge RV Park CLOSED Tower Fall CLOSED 4 Yellowstone Visitor Guide Campground Features * A F V L DS G SB Rate does not include tax or utility pass-through Accessible sites available Flush toilets Vault toilets Pay laundry onsite Dump station Generators allowed 8 am to 8 pm Food storage boxes available '?I' In Order of Opening Campfres are allowed only in designated grills or rings in park campgrounds, some picnic areas, and specific backcountry campsites. Fully extinguish all campfires—they should be cool to the touch—before leaving them. Things to Do Safely storing items at a backcountry site. Backcountry Camping Overnight backcountry camping is only allowed in designated sites and requires a permit. Detailed information on backcountry permits, fees, and advanced reservations is available online: go.nps.gov/YELLbackcountry. From Memorial Day through September 10, a per-person, per-night fee applies: • Backpackers and boaters: $3 per person per night Group maximum $15 per night • Groups with stock animals: $5 per person per night For current trail conditions visit: go.nps.gov/YELLbackcountryreport. Fishing Boating General fshing season opens May 29 and closes November 7, 2021. Some areas remain closed until June 15. Fishing permits are required in Yellowstone; state-issued fshing permits are not valid within the park. Anglers 16 years or older need a permit; younger children can fsh for free with a permitted adult. You can purchase a fshing permit in the park, in local gateway communities, or online via www.recreation.gov. Fishing regulations in Yellowstone protect the unique values of the park ecosystem and conserve native fsh species. Copies of the complete park regulations are available wherever permits are sold and online at go.nps.gov/fsh. Possession limits and closures vary. Anglers are responsible for knowing the regulations in the area they are fshing and knowing how to tell the diference between species. Native fsh must be released unharmed back into the water immediately. These include: • Arctic grayling • Cutthroat trout • Mountain whitefsh Riding the Yellowstone River Trail. Horses, Mules, and Other Stock Animals These tackle and gear restrictions apply: • Hooks must be barbless. • Tackle and lures must be non-toxic. Lead tackle is not allowed. • Bait is prohibited. • Felt-soled footwear is not permitted. Traveling in the Yellowstone backcountry with horses, mules, or llamas is an exciting way to see the park. By their very nature, these large animals have the potential to leave great impacts on the land. Permits are required for both day rides and overnight trips. To get a permit and plan a safe, enjoyable, low-impact trip, contact a backcountry ofce or look online at go.nps.gov/YELLhorseride. • Trails typically open for stock use July 1. Some trails may open earlier or later depending on trail conditions. • Proof of a negative Coggins test is required. • Hay is prohibited in the backcountry, and weedfree hay restrictions are enforced in other areas. • Stock may not be left at trailheads or kept in front-country, drive-in campgrounds overnight. Boating on Yellowstone Lake. Cutthroat trout. Gardner River below Osprey Falls. Swimming Park waters are swift and cold. • Swimming in hot springs or their runoff is prohibited. • Swimming in park rivers is not recommended. Currents can be dangerously strong and fast. • Swimming in Yellowstone lake is not recommended. Average lake temperature is approximately 41°F (5°C). The boating season opens May 29 and closes November 7, 2021. All watercraft (motorized boats, non-motorized boats, and foat tubes) must have a permit and be inspected for aquatic invasive species by park staff. Any watercraft suspected of harboring AIS will be subject to a non-chemical decontamination treatment. Aquatic Invasive Species are nonnative plants and animals that can cause irreversible harm to the ecosystem. New Zealand mudsnails, whirling disease, and lake trout have already resulted in loss of native fsh or closure of some park areas. Watercraft users and anglers are asked to inspect all items that may come in contact with park waters, ensuring that they are clean, drained, and dry. Motorized boating is allowed on Lewis Lake and most of Yellowstone Lake. Only non-motorized boating is allowed on most other lakes. Only one river is open to non-motorized boating: the Lewis River channel between Lewis and Shoshone lakes. If you plan to boat in the park, familiarize yourself with Yellowstone National Park boating regulations and information about inspections and permits, available online at go.nps.gov/YELLboating. BOAT PERMIT AND AIS INSPECTION LOCATIONS Motorized and non-motorized watercraft (including angler foat tubes): • Bridge Bay Ranger Station 8a–4:30p • Grant Village Backcountry Ofce 8a–4:30p • Lewis Lake Ranger Station 8a–4:30p Angler foat tubes only • Locations listed above • Bechler Ranger Station (hours vary) • North Entrance Station (hours vary) • Northeast Entrance Station (hours vary) • West Yellowstone Visitor Information Center (hours vary) For more information, visit go.nps.gov/YELLboating or call 406-581-9040 (Grant AIS inspector) or 406-823-9006 (Lake AIS inspector). Certain Boats Banned Boats with sealed internal water ballast tanks are temporarily banned in the park to minimize the risk of introducing aquatic invasive species. Summer 2021 5 Things to Do Day Hiking More than 1,000 miles of hiking trails wind through Yellowstone National Park. Whether you hike for half a mile or more than 10, the backcountry can be an escape from the crowds and a chance to get in touch with the wilderness that Yellowstone preserves. Find hikes using the free park apps (see page 2) or at go.nps.gov/YELLdayhikes. go.nps.gov/YELLbackcountryreport has information on seasonal closures and trail conditions. Be prepared for wildlife encounters, hike in groups of three or more, and carry bear spray on all hikes. Hiking the Beaver Ponds Trail. Hiking in Bear Country Hiking in bear habitat has inherent risks. You are likely to be safer if you stay on roads and ofcial trails, but your safety cannot be guaranteed. Federal regulations require you to stay at least 100 yards (91 m) away from bears. Learn more: go.nps.gov/bearspray. You can buy bear spray in Yellowstone where stores are open. Bear spray cannot be taken on airplanes or thrown in the trash. Canisters can be recycled in the park. Check locally or online for locations. ... ..., You can rent bear spray from: Bear Aware LLC North end of the Canyon Visitor Education Center parking area May 22–September 25 8a–5:30p Rentals include holster and belt, hiking safety information, and instructions on proper use. The cost is $9.25 per day or $28 per week (3–7 days) plus tax. For more information, visit bearaware.com. Return items to the Canyon kiosk, Madison Campground, park gas stations, or the Cooke City Visitor Center. Grizzly sow and cub. Photographers in Lamar Valley. Photography Yellowstone is one of the best places in the world to photograph wildlife. The Name of the Game is Patience To get the best shot, you will spend more time waiting and observing than taking photos. Look for patterns in animal behavior that can help you get a great shot. You may have to wait a while, so be ready. Know Your Camera's Limits A cell phone camera will not be able to capture the same resolution and detail as a more advanced standalone camera with large lenses. Good photography isn't about getting close to the animal for a close-up. It's about having the right equipment for the job. 6 Yellowstone Visitor Guide • BE ALERT FOR BEARS. • MAKE NOISE in areas with limited visibility. • CARRY BEAR SPRAY, one can with each adult, and know how to use it. • HIKE IN GROUPS of three or more people. • DO NOT RUN; back away slowly. Biking in the spring. Bicycling Stay Safe Behind and in Front of the Camera An unusual vantage point can add drama to your image, but you don't want to add the drama of a hospital visit to your trip. Never sacrifce safety for a photograph. • Be Aware of Your Surroundings Stay behind fences and guard rails. Never turn your back on wild animals. • Keep Children Close to You at All Times Never try to pose them with wildlife. • Stay Out of the Road Do not stop your vehicle in the road or stand in the roadway. Do not block any portion of the road with tripods, chairs, or other objects. Do not block the free fow of trafc. Bicycling, including the use of e-bikes, is permitted on established public roads, parking areas, and designated routes. Bicycles are subject to the same trafc rules as automobiles and are prohibited on trails and boardwalks. Park roads are narrow and winding with few shoulders, so regulations require cyclists to ride single fle, and we strongly recommend wearing a helmet and high visibility clothing Smoking Is Prohibited in geyser basins, on trails and boardwalks, in buildings, or within 25 feet (7.6 m) of building entrances. and using fashing lights on both the front and rear of the bicycle. Road elevations range from 5,300 to 8,860 ft (1,615 to 2,700 m), and services and facilities are far apart—typically 20 to 30 miles (37 to 56 km). During April, May, and June, high snowbanks may make travel more dangerous. Find information on the park website at go.nps.gov/YELLbicycling. Take Only Pictures Removing or possessing natural or cultural resources (like wildfowers, antlers, rocks, and arrowheads) is strictly prohibited. Things to Do The park's Junior Ranger patch. Heritage Resource Center. Become a Junior Ranger Explore Park Heritage If you're age 4 or older, you can become a Yellowstone Junior Ranger! This program is a way to introduce children—and those young at heart—to the natural wonders of the park as well as their own role in preserving these wonders for the future. Opportunities to connect to the past are everywhere in Yellowstone. Visit Mammoth Hot Springs to walk the self-guiding trail around Fort Yellowstone, which chronicles the US Army's role in protecting the park. Other historic sites include the Norris Museum, Obsidian Clif, and the Old Faithful Inn and Historic District. For more information, talk to a ranger at Albright Visitor Center, Canyon Visitor Education Center, and Old Faithful Visitor Education Center. The Heritage and Research Center (above) is located just beyond the North Entrance in Gardiner, Montana. This facility is home to Yellowstone's museum collection, archives, research library, archeology lab, and herbarium. Open by appointment only. To contact, email YELL_Heritage_Center@nps.gov. Authorized Guides Many authorized guides and outftters are ready to show you the wonders of Yellowstone, and each has a unique approach. Make sure that your guide, tour company, or other commercial service is fully authorized by the park. Authorized providers are listed on the park website at go.nps.gov/YELLtours. Yellowstone Forever Store near Roosevelt Arch. Support Your Park YELLOWSTONE FOREVER Yellowstone Forever is the offcial nonproft partner of Yellowstone National Park. Their mission of engagement and support through philanthropy and education for the park will ensure Yellowstone remains for generations to come. Programs about wildlife, plants, geology, and history are perfect for curious adults and families who want to spend a day or more exploring the park with a knowledgeable guide. To learn more, visit Yellowstone.org. Special use permits are required for certain activities including organized gatherings like weddings or church services, public assemblies and demonstrations, some commercial activities like commercial travel, and some types of flming and photography. For more information, call 307-344-2722. Report unauthorized operators to a park ranger, or contact Concessions Management at 307–344–2271. Covered wagons at Yanceys Hole. Make the Most of Your Visit Yellowstone encompasses more than 2.2 million Only one day here? Two or more days? acres, most of it beyond the reach of roads. One could • Drive to the Old Faithful area and walk around the • Explore one theme, such as geology, in depth. For dedicate their entire life to experiencing the park and Upper Geyser Basin. example, visit Mammoth Hot Springs to see traverstill never see it all. Here are suggestions for mak• Visit Old Faithful and one other hydrothermal area, tine formations and view the sedimentary layers of ing the most of the time you do have. like Norris, West Thumb, or Fountain Paint Pots. FolMount Everts, then drive through terrain shaped by low boardwalks and maintained trails to witness hot glaciers to the Tower-Roosevelt area. Tour early in the day to avoid crowds. springs, mudpots, fumaroles, and geysers. • Visit Yellowstone Lake, the largest high-elevation lake Most people tour the park from 10 am to 6 pm. Wild- • Begin in Hayden or Lamar valleys to look for some of in the lower 48 states. Take in the spectacular views life are most active at sunrise and sunset; arriving the park's large animals. Bring binoculars or a spotof West Thumb and the Absaroka Mountains from its before 8 am improves your chances of observing aniting scope, and enjoy animals from a safe distance. shores. Explore the hot springs, mud pots, and geymals during their active periods. Park entrance gates • For a break from the road, consider one or two modsers of West Thumb Geyser Basin. Hike one of the are open 24 hours a day. erate day hikes. Always carry rain gear, extra food local trails, such as the Scenic Lake Overlook near and water, bear spray, and other emergency equipWest Thumb. Visit a hidden gem. ment when venturing into the backcountry. • Slow down and try your hand at capturing the beauty Take a day hike, or stroll one of our historic walking • Have a picnic. Unpack your basket at any of the many of Yellowstone through journaling, painting, or simtours at Fort Yellowstone or Old Faithful. Explore picnic areas throughout the park. ply observing. nearby national park units, national forests, state forests, and state parks. The region ofers a variety of public lands for recreation and enjoyment. Summer 2021 7 Famously Hot Features Yellowstone was established in 1872 as the world's frst national park primarily because of its unparalleled collection of geysers, hot springs, mudpots, and steam vents. * ...--.- Stay on Boardwalks and designated trails. Do not touch any thermal features, and keep foreign objects out of springs. It can be windy, so cinch your hats, and secure your items. Unstable ground and boiling waters make hydrothermal areas extremely dangerous. Fumaroles, or steam vents, are the hottest hydrothermal features in the park, with temperatures well above that of boiling water. They are easier to see in cool weather. Geysers erupt with steaming hot water. Variations in each geyser's underground reservoir determine whether it is regular and predictable—like Great Fountain Geyser in the Lower Geyser Basin—or irregular like Giant Geyser in the Upper Geyser Basin. Hot springs are the most common hydrothermal features in the park. They vary from frothing mochalike boiling water to clear and calm pools of tremendous depth. Mudpots are acidic features with a limited water supply. Their consistency and activity vary with the seasons and precipitation. Travertine terraces are found at Mammoth Hot Springs, where the interactions of hot water and limestone deep underground create chalk-white travertine terraces at the surface. Norris Geyser Basin. Wild Fire Fires are a natural part of the Greater Yellowstone How does fre beneft Yellowstone? Ecosystem. Research shows that large fres have been • Some plants have adapted to fre. In some cases, they occurring in Yellowstone since forests became estabdepend on it. lished following the last glacial retreat 14,000 years • Fire promotes habitat diversity by removing the forest ago. overstory, allowing diferent plant communities to become established and preventing trees from growYellowstone's fre season typically lasts from July ing in meadows. to the end of September. Lightning may ignite doz- • Fire increases the rate nutrients become available to ens of forest fres during a single summer. Most of plants by rapidly releasing them from wood and forthem go out naturally after burning less than half an est litter and by making soil minerals weather faster. acre. Others torch isolated or small groups of trees, This is especially important in a cold, dry climate like become smoldering ground fres, and eventually go Yellowstone's, where decomposition happens slower out on their own. On rare occasions, wind-driven than in more hot and humid areas. fres have burned through large areas of forest, as in • Natural fres provide an opportunity for scientists to 1988, when multiple fres crossed more than one milstudy the efects of fre on an ecosystem. lion acres in Yellowstone and on surrounding federal lands despite massive eforts to extinguish them. Why aren't burned trees removed? Burned and dead trees contribute to the ecosystem. The National Park Service allows lightning-ignited Dead standing trees provide nesting cavities for fres to burn in Yellowstone provided they are not many types of animals. Fallen trees provide food a threat to human life and property. The park is and shelter for animals and nutrients for the soil. required to protect human life as well as the approxHowever, park managers will remove dead or imately 2% of Yellowstone's 2.2 million acres that burned trees that pose safety hazards along are considered developed (roads, buildings, other roads or in developed areas. infrastructure) while at the same time letting wildfre carry out its ecological role in the landscape as much as possible. A patchwork of trees left behind by the advancing fames of 2016's Maple Fire. 8 Yellowstone Visitor Guide Wild Lands and Wildlife Wolves in Yellowstone Yellowstone is the site of one of the most ambitious and controversial wildlife restoration projects in the world. Although wolves once roamed from the Arctic tundra to Mexico, loss of habitat and extermination programs led to their demise throughout most of the United States by the early 1900s. In 1973, the US Fish and Wildlife Service listed the gray wolf (Canis lupus) as an endangered species and designated the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem as one of three re