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Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Houston Chronicle: Don't Fence Me In

My feature article on the joys of Yellowstone in spring recently appeared in several major US newspaper Travel sections, including the Chicago Tribune and the Houston Chronicle.

Commune with the greatest concentration of free-roaming wildlife in the contiguous U.S.

What if the exotic menagerie of captive creatures at the San Diego Zoo's famous Wild Animal Park were actually wild?

This fantasy struck me recently while stuck in a traffic jam caused by a herd of prehistoric-looking bison. They were moseying across Yellowstone's West Entrance Road with their newborn calves in tow. I was rubbernecking. Early childhood memories of giraffes licking the windshield of our family station wagon at a drive-thru safari flashed into mind.

Here in Wyoming's top-left corner, you can explore the greatest concentration of free-roaming wildlife in the contiguous United States — in your own vehicle, at your own pace (and, sometimes, at theirs). It's no wonder that Yellowstone National Park, home to 61 different mammals and hundreds of bird species, receives around 3 million annual visitors, mostly between Memorial Day and Labor Day. To beat the crowds, there is no better time to visit than May.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Dunraven Pass to Reopen

[Note: Here's a crucial update to the original press release quoted below]

The Dunraven Pass trailhead for Mt. Washburn will remain closed as contractors implement a new trailhead design to include installation of additional vault toilet facilities. Hikers may utilize the trailhead from the Chittenden Road to access the summit of Mt. Washburn.

According to an NPS press release, Dunraven Pass, a crucial link in the Grand Loop Road circuit, will re-open soon after undergoing major construction. Work on the road is tentatively scheduled to resume in 2007:

Yellowstone National Park officials announced today that the road between Canyon Village to the Chittenden Road on Dunraven Pass is scheduled to reopen to the public on Friday, August 19, 2005 at 8:00 a.m. with possible half-hour construction delays. The road from Canyon to Tower will remain open to the public until Monday, October 10, 2005, when it is scheduled to close for the season.