Yellowstone Park visits soar in August

All time visitation record for a month-

With the sorry economy it is surely good we have Yellowstone Park in our area. Visit are also up at Grand Teton NP.

Yellowstone visits soar. By Cory Hatch. Jackson Hole Daily.

48 Responses to “Yellowstone Park visits soar in August”

  1. mikepost Says:

    I have a trip planned for June of 2011 and all the hotels are already full….

  2. Virginia Says:

    We camped in Yellowstone last weekend (worst weekend in the year to do so.) We drove to Grand Teton to hike up Lupine Meadows trail, which we have done several times. There must have been about 80 vehicles parked there – overflowing so much people were parking about 1/2 mile from the trailhead, which is unbelievable. We had never seen anything like it. I hope this is not a precedent. Yellowstone and Grand Teton are being loved to death!

    • Save bears Says:

      Virginia Said:

      “Yellowstone and Grand Teton are being loved to death!”

      All I can say is:

      Then stop going to Yellowstone for a while!

      • Virginia Says:

        Save bears: We went to Yellowstone twice this summer! Sorry about that!

      • Save bears Says:

        Virginia,

        No need to be sorry, but those who bitch about how many people that are visiting the park are only adding to the problem if they continue to visit. If they are being “Loved to death” as you said and you continue to visit, then you are part of the problem..

        Life sucks…sorry, but as has been said in the past, you are either part of the problem or you are part of the solution.

        Facts are facts and there is no way around that..

      • ProWolf in WY Says:

        Save bears, if you were allowed to hike in would that be better?

      • Save bears Says:

        Pro,

        If your going to bitch about visitation to the Park, while you are visiting the park, then, what can be said? Every single American has the right to visit the park.

        I just don’t get it, why is it so hard to understand? If you are a body in the park and you are bitching about other bodies in the park, then you are plain and simple a hypocrite, there is no way around it..

    • ProWolf in WY Says:

      Virginia, Yellowstone and Grand Teton do have the potential to be loved to death, hopefully it will never be like I have hard Yosemite is. However, if you go off the beaten path in either park you will not see a lot of people and will have a great time. I did that in Grand Teton about two weeks ago and managed to see a big herd of elk, a bunch of buffalo (including a big bull who stared us down), two moose, and practically bumped into one of the biggest muley bucks I’ve ever seen. And we got a good coyote symphony. So if you aren’t afraid of a little walking you can get away from the people.

      • Virginia Says:

        Not afraid of walking – usually we hike into the back country. However, I had two back surgeries this summer, so I wasn’t up for the long, long hike we usually take. Thus, we ended up at Lupine Meadows. I am not sure why I need to explain this, but Saves Bears let me know that I am part of the problem rather than part of the solution.

      • Save bears Says:

        Virginia,

        It is pretty simple, if you are one of the bodies that are in the park, while your bitching about the over visitation, you are being hypocritical..

        I am not saying don’t visit your national park, I am simply saying if you do, then don’t gripe about the other doing it..

      • ProWolf in WY Says:

        It’s a double-edged sword visiting national parks. People hopefully will gain an understanding of nature when they go, but at the same time they can be causing problems when they crowd it too much. For me, I have a problem with people who crowd the national parks and expect it to be a big zoo and have all of the luxuries. I would not have a problem with Yellowstone (or any other park) having tour buses that tourists have to take. I think Denali has done that.

      • Ryan Says:

        PW,

        Denali does that most of the year, walk in or bus tours.. There is a short drive in lottery season.

      • Save bears Says:

        Pro,

        I have to disagree, I don’t want to spend money to get to a national park, that I pay taxes to upkeep and then spend more money to ride on a bus, listening to a monotone driver, who probably knows far less about features and wildlife than I do. When I visit Yellowstone or Glacier, I do it on my own terms, at my pace and don’t want to see it any other way.

        Should the option be available, sure, I have no problem with that for those who want that type of experience, but it is not for me..

  3. Salle Says:

    It sure was a busy summer in West Yellowstone, the park was absolutely crowded every time I went in, including during the week. I spend summers in West Yellowstone lately so I can go into the park as much as I possible. It’s been so crowded that if you do the right thing and pull off the traffic lane it takes about three to ten minutes to get back into the flow of traffic, that is if it’s flowing and not jammed up by idiots looking at the first of hundreds of bison or elk in view.

    I think the park is being loved to death partly, in the case of record numbers of visitors this year and last, due to the economy. Most American families can’t afford to travel anywhere but to the state and national parks and forests.

    This does present a problem with too many people in the park… How do you resolve such a situation and be fair at the same time? I have thought about this for years, partly due to the winter visitation concerns and the fact that given those concerns about too many folks in during winter and not any consideration about how to manage the overpopulation of humans during the summer. Aside from the climate change factor, this would be the other, though I’m not sure which is more or less the biggest problem since both are huge concerns in my reckoning, is the vast saturation of non-stop human flow through the park, everywhere in the park that has brought about the unfortunate events with regard to humans and wildlife, and most specifically bears. (Don’t forget that bears are killed on the road a lot too.)

    These are ideas that I have either heard or have thought of myself (I don’t want to disclose those who made the suggestions, therefore, I will not identify those that are mine):

    In order to alleviate the lack of knowledge with regard to travel rules and safety as well as interactions with wildlife maybe it would be best if those who wish to purchase a park pass were to do so at a visitor center outside the gate – no pass purchases at the gate which take too much time with long lines of impatient/waiting visitors – they would also be educated at that time about travel rules like don’t stop in the middle of the road and leave your car there while you chase down that first elk with a radio collar or you’ll get a ticket with a hefty fine AND do not leave you trash blowing around the picnic areas and camp sites or suffer the same fate of fines that are enforced. Yes, the rangers give you a handful of paper at the gate which in most cases immediately ends up somewhere in the vehicle unread or floating about on the breezes, unread/unheeded.

    Those pull outs are there for a reason and those who refuse to use them should be ticketed if there are more than three or four vehicle following that would like to at least go as fast as the speed limit instead of suffering your selfish desire to hold them up so you can get that once-in-a-lifetime-shot of the bison when it’s too dark or distant to photograph anyway or the ducklings along the river that you would love to watch for a few minutes but that jerk who is behind you wanting to get to the other side of the park to do what they came to do and has no interest in the ducks wants you to either get going or pull over and let them by and not in a no passing lane thank you very much… (Not to mention the employees who would like to get to work on time. Having to make the commute to Old Faithful to get to work from the West gate is usually a longer than 90 minute drive to get 30 miles thanks to the idiot jams that take place on the west entrance road and elsewhere. Not all people who work in the park live in the park – not everyone driving in or through the park are on vacation.

    Another, which is a safety ploy that should have come about long ago: No big rigs unless you have a reservation for a spot in a campground inside the park, otherwise choose a smaller mode of touring the park for the benefit of ALL visitors including yourself. They hold things up on the narrow parts of the road like the part between Gardiner and Mammoth for starters, then there’s Tower Falls area, north of Norris HS… and then when THEY decide to crawl along to see the sights, it is really a drag, especially those folks in their campers without mirror extensions so they can see that there is a mile long string of pissed off visitors wishing they would observe the courtesies of using pullouts so traffic can get by the luxury crate on wheels. (Just a note, there are numerous visitors who ride motorcycles and the stop-n-go stuff is a painful venture with regard to the clutch and constant shifting since most bikes are geared differently than cars/pickup trucks etc.)

    Traffic rules should be obeyed and enforced diligently so that others will be less inclined to ignore them.

    Those Harleys with customized LOUD tailpipes and other loud vehicles and those with black clouds of exhaust emerging from them should be banned from entry. Just how blatantly selfish and disrespectful is it to get the loudest whatever it is that you drive on the road and then go drive through the wilderness with it? Thanks a lot for making it blatantly clear that you want to be noticed even when everyone else went to that same place to get away from you and your “look at me” needs that make them miserable at home. The same for those stupid car stereos that overwhelm the soundscape for miles.

    Since it’s a park that belongs to all citizens, it should have management policies to reflect that by making it fair to all – including the wildlife we claim to cherish…
    _____________
    Just some suggestions that would go a long way in relieving the glut of humans that now infest the park every summer with ever more increasing numbers. The massive number of humans, IMHO, is a threat to the wildlife and landscape of this special place. If we can’t regulate our own role in the destruction of it, we have no authority to attempt to regulate nature and its members that we so often celebrate our separation from… futile as that is in reality. When enough species are gone due to our superiority pipe dreams, we will be at the top of the endangered species list.

    • Save bears Says:

      Typical…!

      This park belongs to all of the citizens of the US, not just the ones that know what they are doing or have reached a higher awareness. What have you done to slow some of the problems presented by the people who are visiting their park?

      It is unfortunate in this day and age, what might be comfortable to you and me, is uncomfortable to another.

      Myself personally, would love to see the park closed down, completely for about ten years, let it grow and let the animals have a break from the constant barrage of humans poking and prodding at them!

      But again, if the park is over visited, then each one of can do something and that is stop going to the park for a while, its not that hard, visit someplace else for a while…

      • Salle Says:

        “This park belongs to all of the citizens of the US, not just the ones that know what they are doing or have reached a higher awareness. What have you done to slow some of the problems presented by the people who are visiting their park?”

        One of the biggest problems is that it costs everyone else for the stupidity of those who think they are going to Disneyland Petting Zoo. If you don’t figure it out during the hour+ time it takes to get to the park from the nearest Interstate Hwy that a) There is no WalMart for about 100 miles; b) The reason there are no fences around the animals is not so you can pet them at will; c) Driving rules still apply since (if you, like most of the visitors) are still driving on pavement while inside the park and that leaving the pavement is usually not a good idea unless it’s a designated pull out or parking area; d) “…just this once won’t hurt anything” happens a few thousand times a day in the park; e) but not least… that just because you don’t want to understand the risks involved with human/wildlife interface doesn’t give you the right to take the enjoyment of the purpose of the park from those who do understand or wish to do so.

        Perhaps if folks are told in no uncertain terms that their behavior will determine the risk level they are taking by entering… like getting mauled by bears if you don’t pay attention to the dangers of getting too close or being sloppy in their environment… and that entry is “at their own risk” meaning nobody is going to just materialize to save you from yourself, they might take it a little more seriously and improve their behavior, maybe.

        Paul Schullery, in his book Searching for Yellowstone said, “People don’t know how to behave in the wild.” I’d have to agree, especially in this day and age of so many total distractions from the realities of life that they think every experience is supposed to resemble something they saw on TV.

        “Myself personally, would love to see the park closed down, completely for about ten years, let it grow and let the animals have a break from the constant barrage of humans poking and prodding at them!”

        You got me on that one, ideally that would be best but could you actually see that happening when everyone instantly becomes a victim, especially those who make a living off such common resources? I agree that it would be best for the park and its inhabitants but, as life in America the victimhood capital of the planet goes…

        “But again, if the park is over visited, then each one of can do something and that is stop going to the park for a while, its not that hard, visit someplace else for a while…”

        Actually, I do go all over the region but since I can’t afford to go into the park any other time of the year, I like to go when it is open to the public. At least I have a clue about where I am going and what I am going to see.

        Isn’t true appreciation based on knowledge?

        On occasion, when I see someone doing something absolutely unacceptable, I do let them know that it is and as a partial owner of the park I recommend that they understand why it’s unacceptable and why they should refrain from doing whatever it is, including getting back in their vehicle that is blocking miles of traffic. (I’m still waiting for that day when a seven mile long jam results in someone’s death because they had a heart attack while sitting in the traffic and out of cell service. That will be the day when the admin will likely take notice, when they get sued.) I think that appropriate management policies from an admin with a spine could fix most of what ails the park visitor problems without closing the park which, according to some, would be the death of us all.

      • Salle Says:

        Oh, and I would also like to repeat: not everyone driving in or through the park are on vacation or just visiting.

      • Save bears Says:

        Salle,

        See, I could really give a S**T about who makes a living off the common resource…but those who bitch about over visitation of the park, really have no leg to stand on, if they are one of those visiting, there is unfortunately, no qualifications required to visit OUR parks..

        Bitch about the masses visiting, but just remember, those masses own as much of the park as you and I..

        I agree, I would really like to see people learn about the park and what can and all to often does happen before they visit, but then again, I would love to see people learn about living rurally before they move to Montana, Wyoming and Idaho, but they don’t and unfortunately they are not required to..less than knowledgeable, does not mean restrictions to our natural resources..

        The dumbest person in the US has the same right to pay their money and visit their park as you and I do..

      • Save bears Says:

        Salle,

        It is only about 1% of those driving through the park, that are not visitors..the commerce level is very low compared to the amount of visitors to the park..

        As I said, you can choose to be part of the problem, or part of the solution, the ball is always in your court, there is no qualifications required to visit the parks..the dumbest person in the US has all the same rights as the smartest person in the US.

  4. Salle Says:

    “It is only about 1% of those driving through the park, that are not visitors…”

    And that gives the other “travelers” in the park the right to disrupt whatever others who are traveling in the park from whatever they were doing so some idiot can be and behave stupidly? Rights are rights, however, with rights come responsibility, if you can’t live up to the responsibility then how can you stake a claim to the right(s)?

    Rights are not the free license to trash others’ intentions/actions of necessity just because you want to “make someone’s day” by being a jerk. If visitors or entrants to the park are informed prior to their entry, less stupid crap will take place when they realize that it will cost them a considerable penalty for not behaving responsibly – that includes driving rules, campground etiquette/tidiness, and not pissing in Old Faithful for instance. People are so self-centered and callous toward others in our current culture that it makes me ashamed of my country and the people who live here.

    (And just to thwart the “pride/hubris” argument understand this: pride does not exist in my world since pride is simply a fancy term for hubris or egotistical nature. It, in my view has no socially redeeming value so I chose not to acknowledge or possess it.)

    • Save bears Says:

      Salle,

      All I am saying is: What is stupid to you, may be perfectly normal to someone else.

      Simply put, if you are visiting the park and bitching about the over visitation, you are being hypocritical…

      As far as pride, I wish I could exist at your level, because I am not ashamed to say, I am proud of many of the things I have done in my life, you must be a special person…to have no pride..

      by the way, visitors to the park are informed, remember they are given literature that informs them about many things that can and do occur in the park and the wilderness, I hope your not suggesting that everybody should take a test before they enter their national park?

      I guess, I can still hope I attain your level in life, it would be great to be without pride, I really wish I was not proud of anything I have done!

      Yes, with rights come responsibility, but with rights, also comes understanding, compassion and flexibility, your understanding of rights as well as responsibility, is probably far different than another, but no where in our constitution does it stipulate these things, it says for ALL!

      And I have to say, if your ashamed of your country and those who live here, you might want to look at your options, there is probably somewhere out there to live that you can be proud of!

      • Save bears Says:

        Anyway, we are talking about values, and we know, we are never going to agree on values, because each of us have our own set of values..have a great night Salle..

      • Salle Says:

        “Yes, with rights come responsibility, but with rights, also comes understanding, compassion and flexibility, your understanding of rights as well as responsibility, is probably far different than another, but no where in our constitution does it stipulate these things, it says for ALL!”

        Understanding, in this instance is simply being told what the rules and visitor responsibilities are, since the vast majority of visitors simply stash the pile of literature somewhere and step on the gas without ever looking at it again. The suggestion was to give the visitors time to either hear/see the info prior to entering the gate… kind of like bungee jumping just for an example, those who operate such activities inform the participants of the risks, their rights and whatever else is necessary to make sure they have a safe and enjoyable time while participating. This would be no different, the wilderness isn’t a natural setting for city dwellers and those who have never seen any wildlife or wild lands because there are so few of them left. People ask questions that are stupid because they are answered in the literature that they never bothered to look at.

        You know, the actual Constitution belongs to all of us but do any of us actually get to handle the document without supervision and education as to how to handle it if we were to have the opportunity? No. This suggestion is based on a similar concept. The values and etiquette are already established by knowledgeable persons who are stewards of the valuable thing that all of us value at some level. Many political groups claim to value the Constitution more than others but are they allowed to simply go to the National Archives and whisk it out of the vault because they assume that the document gives them the right to do so or should they receive the information about safe handling before they too can touch it? We all value money to some degree but do we all share the same idea of the value of money? No. And if you get into credit trouble, is there not a prescribed set of behaviors that would remedy the credit problems that you would be expected to follow to avoid nasty consequences?

        That’s all the suggestion implies, it has nothing to do with taking anything away from anyone, it was meant to inspire thought on ways to alleviate a problem that should have been dealt with years ago and was by-passed by political posturing.

        I’ll take a pass on your intended insults and leave the thread now. Said what I had to say and that is enough since some folks can’t open their minds just a tiny bit to see things from another’s perspective… I didn’t come on here to argue endlessly about trivial points that lead to insults, SB. Besides, I have an invitation to enjoy the lake today, where there are far fewer people to encounter, but I have to get there first, which requires driving through the rest of the park to get there. It’s an opportunity that I really wouldn’t want to miss since the opportunity won’t come again for another eight months and I have some things to study while there. Enjoy your values.

        And if you insist on having the last word, go for it, I’ll be on the lake enjoying my day while ignoring you.

  5. pointswest Says:

    What they keep talking about with Yosemite and what they will start talking about with Yellowstone is a light rail system.

    They really need to get the cars out of the Yosemite Valley. It is almost not worth going in June in July when the waterfalls are active. I think the time is not far off when cars will be banned from the valley and it is only accessible by light rail.

    There is nothing like driving your own car in a Park. You can listen to the music you like, eat what you like, and stop where you like. There would be some very nice features to light rail however. One would be that portions could be elevated and game would probably wander right beneath it. There could be dozzens of elevated viewing platforms to stop at and wait for the next train. You would, in general see more game. The other would be that it could run 365 days per year. I have been through the Park many times in winter and believe it is at least as interesting in winter as in summer. The local merchants would probably like light rail for this reason…a 365 day per year park.

    We may start seeing more light-rail transportation. We certainly are here in California. There are fairly solid plans to build a high-speed rail system from San Diego to LA to San Francisco….

    http://www.cahighspeedrail.ca.gov/

    There are more speculative plans for a high-speed rail from LA to Las Vegas. On the other hand, I think eletric cars will soon be so cheap to own and operate, it may set mass transit back several years.

  6. Nancy Says:

    I like your idea PW but I wonder what years of construction would do to the wildlife there.

    I’ve only been to Yellowstone twice in all the years I’ve lived in Montana (with relatives, both times in Sept. hoping to avoid the summer crowds) yet still the traffic to Old Faithful was bumper to bumper, people jumping out of cars (stopped in the middle of the road) to get pics of elk or buffalo up close.
    I felt sorry for the animals trying to get from one side of the road to the other, when people were finally moving at what I thought was a dangerous speed.

    I wonder how well electric trolleys would work?
    http://www.google.com/images?hl=en&q=electric+trolley+bus&um=1&ie=UTF-8&source=univ&ei=ismMTPWsOI_Zngejh9WuDA&sa=X&oi=image_result_group&ct=title&resnum=4&ved=0CD8QsAQwAw

    Battery charged of course! I’d much rather leave the driving to someone else and enjoy the scenery and wildlife.

    • pointswest Says:

      One of the greatest advantages to light rail is that much of it could be elevated so that wildlife habitat (along with wildlife) would flow beneath the trains. For example, the stretch from West Yellowstone along the Madison River could be elevated so that the riparian habitat along the river is restored. Deer, elk, bison, bears, etc. would all meander up and down the river beneath the train.

      A light rail system would be electric, of course. You would want some aesthetic design that was quiet and that blended into the scenery as much as possible. You could employ a thrid-rail system to avoid overhead cables. You might want the entire system to be elevated so that snow would not need to be plowed from it…maybe a 60’s style monorail? Also, if you employed the third rail system, you would want it elevated for safety.

      I would be very expensive but I think we can expect visitation to Yellowstone to increase as air travel becomes more expensive and as electric cars make auto travel less expensive. The age of short-hop air travel is coming to an end.

      I believe it was the short-hop airlines that reduced visitation to Yellowstone in the last couple of decades. The nearest short-hop airport to Yellowstone was Salt Lake City which is a 5 to 6 hour drive away. Being able to affordably tour Yellowstone in winter would be a large boost to the local ski resorts too. Big Sky, Jackson Hole, and Grand Targhee would become the most popular ski resorts in the world.

      • Save bears Says:

        I seriously doubt that any of us posting on this blog will ever see what your describing in our lifetime PW, I believe we will see massive changes in transportation over the next 50 years, we have to, but now and in the foreseeable future, there is just going to be to much resistance to plans of this nature.

      • Elk275 Says:

        Pointswest

        Your idea sounds like the futuristic utopia of George Jetson’s world, while the typical family visiting Yellowstone has more in common with Fred, Barney, Wilma, Betty, Pebbles and Bamn Bamn.

      • pointswest Says:

        You know, it probably seems like a George Jetson world when you live in Montana but the City/Country of LA is building a light rail system within a few blocks of my house as I write. In about 8 more months, I will be able to ride the Expo Line the 10 or so miles to Staples Center to watch the Lakers play leaving my car at home. Construction will soon start on CaHSRA and, when complete, I will be able ride downtown on the Expo Line and board the high speed train to San Francico that will travel up to 220 mph. San Francisco alread has a light rail system all over the city including tunnels under the bay. George Jeston is alive and well here in California.

        I agree, however, a light rail system would probably not happen in Yellowstone for at least twenty years. It might happen in Yosemite in less then 10 years, however. I think there is already talk of conneting to CaHSRA at Merced.

        I may be able to walk the three blocks to my local Expo Line station and ride the rails all the way to Yosemite in about 10 years.

      • Save bears Says:

        No wonder California is broke!

      • JB Says:

        “No wonder California is broke!”

        Actually, the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) system that PW mentioned was a LOCAL (3-county) enterprise started in the 1960s to relieve pressure on the Bay Bridge. The other major rail system running in the Bay Area is CalTrain, which was also originally financed locally (with private help; way back in the late 19th century, if I recall). I rode both of these trains to work at different times when I lived in the area, which helped keep me out of the nightmare traffic on the 101 and bridges, and met that my wife and I only needed one car.

        I get so tired of people bashing government…don’t westerners have anything better to do?

      • Save bears Says:

        JB,

        Nope, we don’t…

        Anyway, I just watched the News from California, this evening and Now they are trying to secure loans from China..

        JB,

        You really need to lighten up, I was actually just having a bit of fun at PW’s Expense.

        After working for the government in one form or another since 1979, I think I have earned the right to bash them if I want, heck Bob don’t live in the west and he bashes the government all of the time!

        LOL

      • Save bears Says:

        By the way, I spent a couple of years at the Presidio, (Taught urban combat to both military as well as law enforcement)

        When I left the Presidio, I was transferred to Hawaii, and left Hawaii, the day before the first gulf war started, after a very LONG ride in a very uncomfortable airplane, got to drive across the worse hell whole I have ever been in!!!

        I have experienced the BART system first hand, just cause it works, don’t mean it makes money..

      • pointswest Says:

        Many of the infrastructure things the gov does do not make money. If they made money, private companies might do them. What gov projects often do is save money across the board. The BART for example may not make money but it saves people in the Bay Area tons of money since people can use it and because it saves them from building additional bridges and roadways for cars. BART has been a boon to downtown SF.

        California’s fiscal woes are not due to infrastructure projects. Infrastructure projects nearly always make (or save) money. The fiscal woes are due to expensive gov services and gov employee salaries, benefits, and pensions. Actually, the acute crisis California had last year was simply because of a law passed that required a majority vote to raise taxes. There was a tax shortfall compounded by the recession.

        The government services, I believe, are out of control in California…along with state taxes. I spoke with a teacher who was high in the Teacher’s Union who believed teachers should make $100k per year TO START because, she said, they had to, “pass all those tests.” My sister is an art teacher here who, until very recently, made nearly as much as I did as an Engineer and she gets three months off in the summer along with three weeks at Xmas, a week at spring break, and all of the holidays. Working in construction, I have worked on quite a few state and municipal project in California where the contractor (my side) worked for the government (the other side) and people working on the government side typically worked half as much and made as much or more money.

        I pay nearly $800 per month in property tax, I pay California income tax, and I pay California sales tax that are as high as 12% in some locals. California is pretty messed up but it is not because they spend too much in infrastructure. The traffic in LA is unbelievably bad. LA does not have a football team because they will not build a new stadium. The problem is not that California over builds infrastructure that would improve life and save money. The problem is that there are too many government employees performing too many unnecessary services making too much money.

        I am hoping to make my escape before too much longer.

      • Save bears Says:

        PW,

        I don’t always believe that the government should make money, but I am a firm believer, they should break even on every venture they do, if we in the private sector, lost as much money as they do, we would be out of a job or living on a street corner..

        I don’t make a lot of money, in fact much of the time, I live off my savings, but I am sure glad, I don’t live in the rat race any longer and I am damn glad I don’t work for the government agencies I have worked for in the past, if I get the job with WA state, I hope they are different, if not, I will be out of a job again, because I won’t put up with the bullshit any longer, been there, done that, and have no desire to repeat it!

      • JB Says:

        “You really need to lighten up, I was actually just having a bit of fun at PW’s Expense. After working for the government in one form or another since 1979, I think I have earned the right to bash them if I want…”

        I wasn’t aware that one’s ability to critique government was dependent upon one’s service? I suppose that explains why so many Republicans in Congress have been so critical of government in recent years? Wait a minute, isn’t the military a part of the government? 😉

        In all seriousness, I can appreciate a good “ribbing” but I am absolutely fed up with all the anti-government rhetoric these days. You are certainly within your rights to contribute to such rhetoric (military service or otherwise), but I am equally within mine to point out when I think a statement is unfair.

      • Save bears Says:

        Ok JB,

        I concede, you have to the right to point it out and I have the right to criticize, and we will keep going along our merry way.

        I am sure there are many things we all read and hear every single day, that we are tired of, but that sure does not stop it from happening, even when we point it out..

        And by the way, I hear just much Rhetoric from the Democratic side of the aisle as I do from the Republican..

  7. SEAK Mossback Says:

    Denali park is pretty much closed to cars and just about everybody has to go in by bus, exceptions being property inholders at Kantishna, maybe a few local (federally eligible) subsistence hunters and a very limited number of permits to drive in, all issued by lottery I think. Some friends drew one of those and are heading north this week to use it. When my mother and I went there in the mid-1960s we were able to drive in at will, but that was before the Parks Highway and you had 100 miles plus of gravel across the Denali Highway just to get there and traffic was practically non-existent. Anyway, the restriction definitely lessens the impact of the road as far as noise and wildlife disturbance or the need to upgrade and maintain it.

    Also, it’s a very friendly system for backcountry users who can get picked up or dropped off wherever they want. Sometimes I wish that was the case in Yellowstone. This coming week, my wife and I are going on a 6 day back country trip from the Gallatin side, to see some country I never quite got to, and I wish it were easier to arrange transportation so we could traverse across to Swan Lake Flats instead of making a loop.

  8. Nancy Says:

    But, it might be worth pursuing PW. Find out what the Park has in mind to address what could be a growing problem with congestion. You had me wondering about the possibilities with this comment:
    +One of the greatest advantages to light rail is that much of it could be elevated so that wildlife habitat (along with wildlife) would flow beneath the trains. For example, the stretch from West Yellowstone along the Madison River could be elevated so that the riparian habitat along the river is restored. Deer, elk, bison, bears, etc. would all meander up and down the river beneath the train+

  9. pointswest Says:

    I think the Park was not worrying about congestion too much since visitation was dwindling. They might start worrying now however.

    Let’s do some numbers: Let’s say that by 2020, the Park has 4 million visitors per year. Let’s charge them $30 to ride the light-rail system. That would be $120 million per year in gross receipts. If you capitalize this at a 5% discount rate, you come up with about $2.4 billion to build such a system.

    That might be enough. The high speed train in Calif was only $10 billion and it is high-speed. It also runs through private property and through the city requiring all sorts of grade separations and bridges.

    Also, since you are running it 365 days per year, the wintertime visitation may push the visits per year to 5 or 6 million by 2020.

    It may be feasible. They should consider a study.

  10. Nancy Says:

    PW – One of the downfalls I can see would be having a location available to park the thousands of cars that wouldn’t be driving in and out. But I really like the idea of a slow, silent rail system allowing people to get a glimpse of what they normally can’t see from a car window.

    I know the best way to enjoy Yellowstone is to get out and hike it but millions of people aren’t able to do that so they drive to Old Faithful and then out again with no real sense of what the park is all about.

    • pointswest Says:

      There are many downfalls to light-rail. I think gas powered cars are great. I, personally, have always been able to avoid the traffic jams by going through Yellowstone on a Tuesday or a Wednesday and avoiding holidays.

      Mass transit, in general, sucks. These systems that are being built here in LA are generally avoided by those who can afford cars or taxis. When riding mass transit, you never know if you will be riding with some yahoo that believes himself to be God’s appointed representative on earth and who tries to dominate all around him. Just one person could ruin the entire trip.

      It was probably the car that made Yellowtone and other Parks such family oriented places. The family could all pack up in the car for a family adventure.

      There are tremendous parking lots at Canyon and at Old Faithful now. I’ll bet most of area of the man-made complex at Old Faithful is parking lot. I will hate to see parking structures built inside of the Park but it is what we are coming too.

      • pointswest Says:

        I suppose you could have two types of trams running on the system. One would be with regular cars with open seatng, but you could also have some trams running that are compartments and a family could buy a compartment pass for the day so they could always sit together in a compartment. They could stop at any of the hundreds of stops and then board the next compartment type tram that had an empty compartment.

        The other nice thing about light-rail is that it would always take you right up to the attractions such as Old Faithful. You would not be spending an hour finding a parking spot that is 20 minutes walk the geyser.

        Like many things in life, light-rail would be a tradeoff.

      • Alan Says:

        And watching it go off while you’re still driving around, then having to stand around for 90 minutes waiting for the next one with your out of state guests who have two days to “see” the park!! Been there, done that!

  11. Alan Says:

    One possible way to reduce traffic in our parks would be a limit to the number of vehicles allowed to pass through each gate each day during, say, July and August. When the limit has been reached the gate is closed. Obviously delivery vehicles, construction working in the park, official vehicles, tours and anyone holding a camping our hotel reservation (or currently camping, registered) would be exempt.
    I would like to see a really good, affordable public transportation system. Ideally it would have its own lane (or light rail as someone suggested above) and could zip right on by the traffic. You could spend your time looking for animals rather than other cars or pedestrians. It should be “kangaroo” style, meaning that you could get off anywhere, spend some time and hop on the next one without paying again. What it could not be is Yellowstone’s winter transportation system , i.e.
    designed for the rich. The right system could get a lot of people off the roads, especially first time visitors. Heck, priced right I would ride the thing for sure, and I’m in the park probably 150-200 times a year (yes, part of the problem; but almost never in July or August!)
    Still and all, 90% of the people visit 10% of Yellowstone.
    Regarding enforcement: I have seen rangers work really hard to keep traffic flowing, but they are often overwhelmed; and a lot of the time they are volunteers who may not have the authority to write a ticket. I have also seen rangers drive right around or through huge traffic problems, and animal situations (tourists chasing animals into the woods, too close to bears, bison etc.) without even stopping. No doubt they had bigger fish to fry. Perhaps some dedicated traffic cops during peak months would help. I don’t buy the idea that some folks don’t know any better than to stop in the middle of the road. Bet they don’t do that at home, because they know they would get a ticket. In Yellowstone, in the summer, about the worse thing that seems to happen is you get yelled at. A few traffic tickets to discuss with fellow visitors around the ol’ campfire at night might go a long ways. I do know that in winter, when there is very little traffic, one tire over the white line can get you a piece of paper.
    Bottom line: they gotta have personnel and they need better systems of transportation; and they don’t have, and aren’t likely to get, the budget for these things. So why did I even bother to write this? We can dream!

    • pointswest Says:

      ++One possible way to reduce traffic in our parks would be a limit to the number of vehicles allowed to pass through each gate each day during, say, July and August. When the limit has been reached the gate is closed. ++

      So a family that has been planning their trip to Yellowstone for three years gets to the gate only to find that it is closed. They go back to Minniapolis and tell all their friends of the wasted money and the disappointment and their friends decide Yellowstone is not worth the trip. I guess that would cetainly cut down on the visitors. Just make the public hate the place! You could also tell campers to be careless with food and this would probably lead to many bear attacks which might cut down on the camping since bear attacks are generally bad press.

      That would work. 🙂

      ++I would like to see a really good, affordable public transportation system. Ideally it would have its own lane (or light rail as someone suggested above) and could zip right on by the traffic++

      So you are talking about a four lane highway through the Park? Where will they put the rivers and streams?

      ++Bottom line: they gotta have personnel and they need better systems of transportation; and they don’t have, and aren’t likely to get, the budget for these things. So why did I even bother to write this? We can dream!++

      They do have the budget. They now get 3.5 million vacationers per year who want to spend money and have fun. If it were open in winter, they may get substantially more.

  12. Alan Says:

    “So a family that has been planning their trip to Yellowstone for three years gets to the gate only to find that it is closed.”
    No. If they had reservations they could go right in, or they could enter in the morning. If that’s the way it was people would plan accordingly. Surely if a family drove all the way from Minniapolis, even today, they have some idea of where they are going to spend the night. First come, first serve campgrounds in the park are often full by 10:00 or 11:00AM in the summer anyway.
    “So you are talking about a four lane highway through the Park? Where will they put the rivers and streams?” I agree that this is not what I would like to see our park turn into, but in 2.2 million acres they could probably fit in a river or two. Remember I said “ideally” they could bypass traffic, not necessarily.
    “They do have the budget. They now get 3.5 million vacationers per year who want to spend money and have fun. If it were open in winter, they may get substantially more.”
    The entrance fees from which go into the general fund. Only Congress can increase their budget, not visitors.


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