Grand Teton National Park
Grand Teton National Park
News Article | February 15, 2017
Cities across the nation are vying to attract millennials. Surprisingly, one rural community in Eastern Idaho is home to one of the country’s largest groups of young talent – branding itself “Millennial City USA.” Over 81% of the 26,000 people living in Rexburg are under 30, and the median age is 22 – 15 years younger than the national average. The growth of 18 to 35-year-olds is projected to continue: the Idaho Department of Labor estimates the millennial population in Eastern Idaho will expand 26% by 2025, compared to less than 3% nationally. What draws young people to this rural region? Many graduate from Brigham Young University Idaho (BYUI) and Idaho State University (ISU) to reside in the Eastern Idaho Innovation Corridor, home to the Idaho National Laboratory and companies including Melaleuca and Progrexion. Millennials also enjoy year-round outdoor recreational opportunities at nearby Yellowstone National Park and Grand Teton National Park. To retain and grow this coveted population, economic development leaders have launched a multi-phase research effort: “So much has been written about what urban millennials want, but this is the first time anyone has formally studied rural millennials to learn what drives them,” says Jan Rogers, president of the Regional Economic Development for Eastern Idaho (REDI), which just completed a survey and focus group series with its millennial population. Here are some initial findings: According to Hope Morrow, regional economist for the Idaho Department of Labor, the region’s three fastest growing industries are in the areas of finance, science/technology and healthcare. The Idaho National Laboratory – the top nuclear national lab in the nation – is a major employer. “With an abundance of outdoor recreation activities, education and career opportunities as well as a safe, family-friendly environment, Rexburg’s millennial population is flourishing -- creating a unique opportunity for businesses and another incredible asset for the state of Idaho,” said Megan Ronk, director of the Idaho Department of Commerce. The region’s low cost of living is also an incentive for millennials to raise families in Eastern Idaho. “Eastern Idaho has not only offered the professional opportunities that my wife and I need to make a good living, but it also offers the work-life balance that is important to us,” says millennial Mark Baker, who works as director of marketing for the Bingham Memorial Hospital in Blackfoot. “It’s not uncommon for us to wake up on a Saturday morning and say, ‘Let’s go explore Yellowstone today!’” The opportunities for career growth and skyrocketing BYUI enrollment numbers point to a further rise in Eastern Idaho’s millennial population, and the region is changing to adapt to the influx. There are plans for investments in new retail shopping, restaurant space and condo living, along with new sports fields and venues to host shows and concerts. The Snake River Landing Convention Center is projected to begin construction this year. “Rexburg is home to many young scholars who are passionate about living and working in this unique region,” says Jerry Merrill, Mayor of Rexburg, Idaho. “Our small town community appeals to a massive group of millennials because of their access to higher education, career opportunities, affordability and endless opportunities for outdoor recreation. They feel welcome and excited to interact here,” he said. In tandem with the “Millennial City USA” theme, REDI has launched a social media campaign to tell the story of Eastern Idaho’s attractions and lifestyle assets through the eyes of rural millennials. It can be found on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram. About Regional Economic Development for Eastern Idaho The Regional Economic Development for Eastern Idaho (REDI) represents the economic interests of the 14-county Eastern Idaho area. The region is nestled between one of the largest wilderness areas in the lower 48 and two national parks – Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons. The cities of Idaho Falls and Pocatello are ranked as the 4th and 5th largest cities in Idaho and are approximately 45 miles apart. With a combined population of 366,611, the region has the second largest workforce in Idaho with approximately 183,381 employees. http://www.EasternIdaho.org ###
News Article | May 12, 2017
FILE - In this April 6, 2016, file photo provided by the Yellowstone National Park Service, a white wolf walks in Yellowstone National Park, in Wyo. A wolf advocacy group has doubled the reward for information leading to whoever shot a similar rare white wolf found inside Yellowstone National Park. Yellowstone officials euthanized the severely injured wolf after hikers found the animal near Gardiner, Montana, on April 11, 2017. The park offered a $5,000 reward Thursday for information leading to a conviction after announcing a preliminary necropsy finding that the wolf had been shot. (Neal Herbert/Yellowstone National Park via AP) CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — The reward for information leading to whoever shot a rare white wolf found inside Yellowstone National Park rose to $10,000 on Friday after a wolf advocacy group matched a $5,000 reward offered earlier by the park. Yellowstone officials euthanized the severely injured wolf after hikers found the animal suffering in the northern edge of the park, near Gardiner, Montana, on April 11. The 12-year-old wolf that was killed was the alpha female of a group of wolves dubbed the Canyon Pack and a popular target of photographers. The park offered a $5,000 reward Thursday for information leading to a conviction after announcing a preliminary necropsy finding that the wolf had been shot. The Montana group Wolves of the Rockies followed up with its own $5,000 reward. Park officials have not said whether they have leads in their investigation into who killed the wolf, but Wolves of the Rockies President Marc Cook speculated the wolf's killer was someone angry about the reintroduction of wolves to the park more than two decades ago. "People take matters into their own hands and feel they are above the law and they kind of flaunt that fact that they can do what they want to do and there's no repercussions," Cook said. Park officials also have not commented on a motive for the wolf's killing, but many hunting outfitters and ranchers oppose the presence of the wolves, which now number about 100 in the park. Wolves prey on big-game animals popular with hunters, such as elk, and sometimes kill cattle on pastures outside Yellowstone. The shooting happened at a time of transition for wolves in nearby Wyoming, where a federal appeals court ruled in March that they could be removed from Endangered Species Act protection. For more news videos visit Yahoo View, available now on iOS and Android. Environmentalists had persuaded a judge to put wolves back on the endangered list in Wyoming in 2014. Their concerns included a shoot-on-sight provision for wolves in most of the state, one that does not exist in Idaho or Montana. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia found Wyoming adequately addressed those concerns. Wolves went back off the endangered list in Wyoming on April 25. Reclassified by the state as predators of livestock, they once again may be shot on sight by anyone in most of Wyoming outside Yellowstone, Grand Teton National Park and nearby wild country. Relatively few wolves wander far from the Yellowstone region in Wyoming. The wolf found shot in Yellowstone was more than 70 miles (110 kilometers) from where it could legally have been shot on sight in Wyoming two weeks later when wolves found there had been taken off the endangered list. The dead wolf was double the average age of a Yellowstone wolf and had at least 20 pups, of which 14 became yearlings. She was together with the same alpha male wolf for more than nine years, park officials said.
News Article | May 18, 2017
An exceptional summer destination for travelers in the know, Brooks Lake Lodge & Spa in the Rocky Mountain wilds of Wyoming is offering a rare opportunity to experience the ultimate Western-style vacation. Typically booked in advance for summer peak season, the intimate all-inclusive Brooks Lake Lodge has had several select dates become available last-minute – a chance for an unexpected all-out Wyoming adventure this June 25-30, July 15-18 and August 2-4. “Far, far away deep in a forest in Wyoming, lies a hidden resort. Because the resort is so hidden, it’s the perfect place to go if you want to get away from it all,” wrote Only In Your State about Brooks Lake Lodge recently. Indeed, the luxurious guest ranch is surrounded by Wyoming’s Shoshone National Forest – the first federally protected forest in the U.S. The elegantly rustic resort pampers from the get-go with a remarkable staff-to-guest ration of 2:1, providing a getaway that includes everything from quiet respite to heart-pounding adventure. Remote yet easily accessible and packed with immersive experiences, Brooks Lake Lodge is within easy driving distance of Jackson Hole, Yellowstone National Park and Grand Teton National Park. The upscale dude ranch features an abundance of outdoor activities in summer, including hiking, horseback riding and fishing in the forest backcountry, canoeing around scenic Brooks Lake, and practicing archery framed by a mountain backdrop. Rustic-luxe lodging and a relaxing spa add to the appeal for those looking for an uncommon combination of nature-rich outdoor amenities and sumptuous accommodations. All guest meals, masterfully prepared by the expert kitchen, are included, and the on-site Cowboy Bar serves up casual nighttime entertainment. Also during the summer season, separate children’s activities are available. And for late summer travelers seeking relaxation, romance and rejuvenation, the Lodge offers several late summer specials– including the new Empty Nesters Renewal package, available Aug. 21 – Sept. 13, 2017. The option-packed package brings together a full roster of outdoor activities, the lodge’s fantastically curated gourmet meals and specially priced spa treatments for two. The discounted all-inclusive package is priced at $400 per person per night (double occupancy). About Brooks Lake Lodge & Spa Brooks Lake Lodge & Spa – a 100-year-old historic guest ranch that travel site Only in Your State recently showcased as one of Wyoming’s must-visit destinations – is located just one mile from the North American Continental Divide. Surrounded by mountains, evergreen forests, wildlife and the alpine Brooks Lake, and with views of the Pinnacle Buttes, Austin’s Peak and Brooks Mountain, the exclusive, all-inclusive Wyoming Rocky Mountain resort offers five-star service, luxury accommodations and gourmet dining. The new separate spa facility was built with Western craftsman-style detailing to complement the historic lodge. A dude ranch by summer and ski and snowmobile haven in winter, the lodge provides year-round activities for outdoor enthusiasts. All-inclusive rates include lodging, meals, activities and spa access. For additional information and reservations visit http://www.brookslake.com or call 866.213.4022.
News Article | June 20, 2017
Plan your dream vacation to one of these superlative destinations. The world is full of diverse destinations that are waiting to be explored. But with so many options, it can be hard to narrow down your bucket list. That's why U.S. News used a methodology that takes into account expert and editor analysis and reader votes to determine which destinations qualify for a spot on the list of the World's Best Places to Visit. This year's ranking includes sprawling European metropolises, picturesque Caribbean islands, quaint mountain towns and exquisite natural wonders that are sure to wow every type of traveler. Lush rainforests, majestic mountains and romantic resorts are all reasons to visit this Caribbean island. A haven for honeymooners, St. Lucia offers the perfect mix of seclusion, relaxation and adventure. To take in the spectacular landscape, plan to hike the Piton Mountains or snorkel and scuba dive in the waters of Anse Chastanet. Tucked away less than 60 miles south of Yellowstone National Park, Jackson Hole sees an influx of winter travelers looking to hit the slopes at upscale ski resorts. But you'd be remiss to think that's all there is to do in this small Wyoming town. Visit the neighboring Grand Teton National Park for awe-inspiring vistas, catch a glimpse of majestic animals at the National Elk Refuge or relax sore muscles in the Granite Hot Springs. This Canadian destination will bring out the explorer in anyone who visits. From hiking and whitewater rafting to skiing and snowboarding, Banff offers travelers an abundance of year-round outdoor activities. The Lake Louise Ski Resort is one of the largest in North America and the striking photo ops of the Canadian Rockies from Moraine Lake can't be underestimated. According to travelers, a visit to this Peruvian UNESCO World Heritage site is a once-in-a-lifetime adventure. Located in the Andes Mountains, the lost city of the Incas features 12 acres of temples, aqueducts and gardens for travelers to discover. Spend a few days acclimating to the altitude in the neighboring city of Cusco, where you can soak up a mix of Incan and Spanish cultures. It's easy to see why the Great Barrier Reef is one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World -- it stretches nearly 1,500 miles along the eastern coastline of Australia and features 3,000 coral reefs, 600 islands and more than 1,600 species of fish. Travelers can see these amazing natural structures from the air or underwater. However, large amounts of coral bleaching (caused by rising ocean temperatures) threaten to destroy this massive marine life habitat, so plan your visit soon to see this awesome sight up close. For a luxury ski vacation, look no further than Park City. Popular upscale mountain resorts, specifically Deer Valley and Park City Mountain, provide some of the best ski conditions in the U.S. Even if you're not a powder hound, sites like the Guardsman Pass Scenic Backway and Utah Olympic Park will keep you entertained. For a dose of culture, plan your visit in January, when celebrities descend on the town for the annual Sundance Film Festival. One look at the aquamarine waters that surround the British Virgin Islands and you'll see why they're consistently rated a top Caribbean destination. Sure, other islands have white sand beaches too, but the British Virgin Islands aren't crowded with megaresorts or cruise ports. Instead, the chain of 60 islands values exclusivity and luxury, so you'll want to bring your credit card along. Nature enthusiasts looking to go off the grid should travel to Costa Rica. Home to a diverse landscape of tropical rainforests, volcanic mountains, pristine beaches and wildlife reserves, this Central American country draws adventure seekers and animal lovers alike. Explore the Nicoya Peninsula before heading to the remote Tortuguero National Park to spot exotic wildlife. There's no shortage of magnificent photo ops in this California national park, but you'll have to climb to reach the best vantage points. Famous hiking trails include the daunting Half Dome and the high altitude (but more accessible) Glacier Point lookout. Never fear -- if heights aren't your thing, there are plenty of less strenuous options found along Mist Trail and Tuolumne Meadows. From luxurious bungalows suspended over clear turquoise waters to lush vegetation and stunning waterfalls, Tahiti is all about basking in the colorful landscape. The largest island in French Polynesia is ideal for those seeking solitude, but areas like La Plage de Maui and Plage du Taharuu are also popular with tourists. You're probably familiar with Spanish hot spots like Madrid and Barcelona, but the northern coastal town of San Sebastian deserves a spot on your bucket list, too. Known for its gorgeous beaches and unique culture, San Sebastian offers a small-town atmosphere influenced by Basque Country. Foodies are also in for a treat as the region is famous for its pintxos -- the Basque version of tapas. Explore the city's pintxos bars on your own or with an organized tour group. The largest island in Thailand boasts enough marvels to impress any traveler. You'll find wide sandy beaches, limestone caves and distinctive rock formations. If the scenery doesn't amaze you, then the lavish spas, upscale dining, fine art galleries and swanky hotels just might. Visit during the dry season (November to April) to experience both indoor and outdoor attractions at their best. This Colorado town is home to fewer than 5,000 people, but its small size hasn't kept it from becoming one of the best winter sports destinations in America. Travelers love schussing the slopes at local ski resorts in the winter, and hopping in the car for a scenic mountain drive along Boreas Pass Road in the warmer months. Visitors should also explore the quaint Main Street, which is full of boutique shops and restaurants. Plus, its location only 80 miles southwest of Denver makes Breckenridge one of the most accessible skiing and snowboarding spots in Colorado. An easy hop over the border from Seattle, this Canadian city embraces the great outdoors. Hiking, skiing and whitewater rafting are just a few activities visitors can enjoy. What's more, attractions such as Stanley Park (home to a water park and the Vancouver Aquarium) and Granville Island make Vancouver a great choice for families. Pop culture aficionados will also appreciate the city's connection to Hollywood movies (it's a popular filming location) and its lively arts scene. Serengeti National Park offers an unparalleled experience for travelers. Located in northern Tanzania, the 5,700-square-mile wildlife park is home to The Great Migration -- the annual movement of millions of animals in search of food and breeding grounds. Keep your eyes peeled for herds of zebras, gazelles, baboons and spotted hyenas, just to name a few. Increase your chances of catching a glimpse of wildlife by visiting the southern part of the park during the wet season (December to June) or staying along the northern Seregenti during the dry season (July to November). Ancient temples, imposing landscapes and legendary sunsets are enough for any traveler to daydream of Bali. This Indonesian island offers some of the best beaches in the world, along with volcanic mountains, elephant sanctuaries and a wealth of five-star resorts. Getting here isn't cheap, but travelers seeking seclusion in an exotic locale agree it's worth the trek for the photo ops alone. No photos of the Grand Canyon can convey the sheer magnitude of this natural wonder, which measures 277 miles long, up to 18 miles wide and more than a mile deep. Nearly 6 million people visited the national park in 2016 to take in the grandeur of the red and orange formation. There are plenty of ways to enjoy this UNESCO World Heritage site: Travelers can hike the North Rim, horseback ride on the Bright Angel Trail or raft down the Colorado River, among other pursuits. Thanks to its idyllic scenery, historic sites and multitude of oceanfront resorts along Waikiki Beach, this Hawaiian island -- and its capital, Honolulu -- has long been considered a premier vacation destination. As such, it's got something for every type of traveler. Adventure seekers can surf along the North Shore, history buffs and culture hounds can visit Pearl Harbor and 'Iolani Palace, and honeymooners can pamper themselves with luxury spa treatments and high-end dining. The white and pastel-hued villages dotting the coastline of this Greek island seem to be straight out of a postcard. Shorelines are sprinkled with colorful beaches, including black sands at Kamari Beach, a crimson-hued shoreline at the aptly named Red Beach and cobalt waters everywhere. A visit here is also sure to include an abundance of fresh Mediterranean fare and locally made vino. Five million people can't be wrong. That's how many tourists travel to this Italian coastal region annually. They come for the breathtaking views from seaside towns, where stacks of brightly colored houses are perched on the cliffs. While the Amalfi Coast's topography is what initially draws travelers, its old-world charms, rich cultural history and fresh Italian cuisine convince them to come back year after year. For a posh getaway, stay along the coast in the town of Positano. Dubai is home to a bevy of superlatives, including the tallest building in the world (Burj Khalifa at 2,717 feet), the world's largest indoor theme park (IMG Worlds of Adventure), the largest man-made marina in the world and the world's first rotating skyscraper, set to open in 2020. If those aren't enough reasons to visit, the city is also home to an indoor ski center, one of the globe's largest shopping malls and multiple public beaches -- not to mention a handful of man-made islands. A trip here won't be cheap, but it's worth it. This city's diverse and distinguished architecture differentiates Barcelona from other European destinations. The influence of Antoni Gaudí can be seen throughout the city in places like Güell Park, La Sagrada Familia and Casa Batlló. Other spectacular structures include the Palace of Catalan Music, the Cathedral of Santa Eulalia and the Barri Gótic neighborhood. Plus, one of the most important buildings to Barcelona residents (and fútbol fans), the Camp Nou Stadium, is home to one of the most popular soccer teams in the world, FC Barcelona. Visit the capital of the Czech Republic to step back in time. Gothic structures stretching from the Old Town Square to Prague Castle (the largest coherent castle complex in the world) will make you feel as if you're in a fairy tale. You'll also want to walk across the Charles Bridge (don't forget to rub one of the 30 saint statues for luck) and make time to marvel at the Prague Astronomical Clock. What's more, you're more likely to score better discounts and travel deals in Prague than neighboring European hot spots. With roots that can be dated back to 59 B.C., this ancient city is home to a number of attractions that belong on your bucket list. The oldest building in the city, the Battistero, dates back to the 11th century, and the skyline has been dominated by the Duomo since the 14th century. But a visit here isn't all about touring historical sites -- you'll want to save time for wandering the many piazze (plazas) and sampling the delectable regional fare. From Frank Sinatra to Jay Z, countless musicians have tried to capture the essence of New York City in song, but to get a real impression of the concrete jungle you've got to experience it for yourself. You'll want to cross landmarks like the Empire State Building and the Statue of Liberty off your bucket list, but you'll find more cultural pastimes just as exciting. Take in a Broadway show, people-watch in Central Park or pull out your credit card to shop on Fifth Avenue. There are so many options, you'll need more than one trip to see it all. Poet Allen Ginsberg once wrote, "You can't escape the past in Paris, and yet what's so wonderful about it is that the past and present intermingle so intangibly that it doesn't seem to burden." First-time visitors can spend their days soaking up historical sites, such as the Arc de Triomphe, Château de Versailles and, of course, the Eiffel Tower. But you'll need more than one visit to fully enjoy the city's chic arrondissements (districts), world-famous cuisine and unforgettable atmosphere. Although the slogan "Keep Calm and Carry On" was created as a morale booster for the city in 1939, it still encompasses the London way of life. The dizzying array of sights, sounds and smells mingle with the antique and the contemporary in London. Westminster Abbey and Buckingham Palace will captivate visitors who are intrigued by the royal family, while more modern highlights, including the West End Theatre District and Portobello Road Market, will appeal to culture hounds. No matter which side of London captures your heart, the culture and decorum of this diverse city is timeless. This coastal Portuguese city has all the elements of a world-class travel destination: a striking shoreline, charming architecture and historic sites, plus a one-of-a-kind export -- port wine. Nicknamed the City of Bridges, Porto is home to numerous iron bridges including the Dom Luís I Bridge designed by a student of Gustave Eiffel (the mastermind behind the Eiffel Tower). When not admiring the stunning structures, travelers can relax along intimate beaches or sample port wine at historic cellars like Sandeman or Offley. There's more to this Australian city than iconic attractions like the Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Part laid-back beach town, part sprawling metropolis and part cultural retreat, Sydney has many facets that please a variety of travelers. Surfers and landlubbers can play along Bondi Beach, amateur photographers can snap pictures of the harbor from Mrs. Macquarie's Chair and history buffs can get lost in the Hyde Park Barracks Museum. No matter your interests, you're sure to leave with unique memories you can only get in Sydney. Rome is the world's best place to visit in 2017-18. Though its mystic roots are debated by historians, travelers agree that there's something mysterious about the Eternal City, be it the ghosts of the Colosseum or the ruins of the Roman Forum. Since the days of the Roman Empire, Italy's capital city has influenced art, government and architecture. Today it's a modern, cosmopolitan city where fashion, business and award-winning cuisine complement the ancient historic sites the city is known for. Gwen Shearman is an Editor/Analyst for the Travel section at U.S. News where she writes and edits a variety of travel-related consumer advice content. Since joining the travel team in 2014, she's focused on the Best Vacations and Best Cruise Lines franchises. She is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and Georgetown University, where she earned a master's degree in journalism. You can follow Gwen on Twitter or email her at email@example.com.
News Article | June 20, 2017
New York City tops the list of the Best Places to Visit in the USA. Philadelphia, with its rich historical heritage, follows at No. 2. Hawaii's Honolulu-Oahu and Maui rank No. 3 and No. 4, respectively. San Francisco rounds out the top five. New this year, U.S. News ranked the Best Small Towns in the USA and the Best National Parks in the USA. Known for its romantic atmosphere and charming wineries, Sonoma, California, is the No. 1 Best Small Town in the USA, followed by Breckenridge, Colorado, at No. 2, which earns high marks for its family-friendliness and abundance of year-round outdoor activities. The No. 3 destination, Asheville, North Carolina, draws travelers with its up-and-coming dining scene and close proximity to the Blue Ridge Parkway. The vast Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming, with its diverse wildlife and hiking opportunities, is the No. 1 National Park in the USA. "Whether you're seeking a remote getaway or a weekend trip, the destinations on our list are highly recommended by seasoned travelers and industry experts," said Gwen Shearman, travel editor at U.S. News. "From cities and beach towns to national parks, we've identified the top spots for every traveler." U.S. News analyzed more than 300 destinations using a methodology that combines travelers' opinions with expert and editor analysis. Each destination is scored in 10 categories, from sights, culture and food to nightlife, adventure and romance, offering a comprehensive evaluation of each destination. U.S. News also ranks the best destinations in Europe, Mexico, Canada, Africa and The Middle East, Central and South America and Australia and The Pacific. See the full rankings here. Best Places to Visit in the USA 1. New York City 2. Philadelphia 3. Honolulu-Oahu Best Places to Visit in the Caribbean 1. British Virgin Islands 2. Guadeloupe 3. St. Lucia Best Small Towns in the USA 1. Sonoma 2. Breckenridge 3. Asheville For more information on Best Vacations, visit Facebook, Twitter and Instagram using #Vacations17. About U.S. News & World Report U.S. News & World Report is a digital news and information company that empowers people to make better, more informed decisions about important issues affecting their lives. Focusing on Education, Health, Personal Finance, Travel, Cars and News & Opinion, USNews.com provides consumer advice, rankings, news and analysis to serve people making complex decisions throughout all stages of life. More than 30 million people visit USNews.com each month for research and guidance. Founded in 1933, U.S. News is headquartered in Washington, D.C. To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/us-news--world-report-reveals-the-2017-18-best-vacations-in-the-world-300476147.html
News Article | June 23, 2017
On a road trip through Yosemite National Park, I once stopped at a particularly beautiful waterfall. Two dozen onlookers were already there; most Vine-ing, 'gramming, tweeting, or texting shots of the vista. Mildly distracted, I filmed some videos, and left. To this day, that remains my most vivid memory of California's most iconic national park. Plenty of people experience nature through a lens. So it's no surprise that Yellowstone National Park wants to enhance cellular and Wi-Fi coverage throughout some of its 2.2 million acres. It would require serious infrastructure changes, including two new cellular towers at scenic points, and a bulky antennae platform on historic Mount Washburn. The ambitious plan is not without controversy. Some environmental groups have opposed the National Park Service's (NPS) decision and process, accusing the agency of sacrificing wilderness for technology. The debate has no clear right or wrong answer, and raises important questions about general accessibility on public lands. "Pursuit of bigger bandwidth puts Yellowstone on a never-ending cellular treadmill. Yellowstone's custodians are doing more to service smartphones than to fix its crumbling infrastructure," Jeff Ruch, executive director of Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER), said in a statement emailed this week. Maps from service providers AT&T and Verizon, according to PEER, indicate that coverage would bleed into Yellowstone's backcountry areas, which are cherished in part for their remoteness. A spokesperson for Yellowstone National Park told Motherboard that the project will not actually expand the park's existing cellular footprint. "With the exception of the new cellular tower near Canyon Village, this project is intended to improve the backhaul capacity of the existing cellular network," a spokesperson said in an email. "The project will not increase the network's footprint, but will improve service in the Canyon developed area (which is in the shadow of coverage from Mount Washburn). The new systems on the Mount Washburn Tower will not change the existing coverage area in the park." Many parks in North America are reckoning with the same questions. Is better connectivity safer, more convenient, and necessary for visitors? In 2014, Parks Canada faced criticism for wanting to install wireless hotspots across the Canadian park system. Last year, five Democratic congressmen asked President Obama to boost wireless service in all 409 of America's national parks, especially those in rural areas. Their sentiment—that public safety and nearby communities would benefit from greater coverage—isn't one that's unanimously shared by the environmental community. About a third of the park currently receives coverage from one tower, according to an AT&T Yellowstone map obtained by PEER through a Freedom of Information Act request. The group estimates this footprint will drastically increase once NPS completes its expansion, despite assurances that coverage will be kept "to a minimum" in less developed, backcountry areas. Ruch told me he doesn't oppose servicing developed areas. But if Yellowstone's plan was "limited to developed areas, we wouldn't be having this conversation," saying that NPS is effectively "wiring the wild." Even the invisible threat of coverage is enough to tarnish the virtues of pristine backcountry for some. Here's one opinion shared by Krista Langlois for High Country News: I'm probably too young to be a good curmudgeon, but I nonetheless subscribe to Ed Abbey's view of wilderness: it doesn't need to be safe and accessible for everybody. Put ramps and roads and signs and cell phones into our cities, but please, leave them out of the backcountry. Sure they make it safer, but the element of risk is part of what defines the outdoors, and part of what draws me to it. Whether or not parks even need better cell service is disputed among environmentalists. All sides have equally persuasive arguments, but the debate comes down to a few specific issues. There are those who think that better coverage will lower the barrier of entry to experiencing national parks. You can't stop teens from staring at their phones, but maybe you can convince them that a weekend at Yellowstone doesn't necessarily mean going off the grid. "Maybe someone Instagramming Old Faithful will inspire more people to visit and, in turn, generate more revenue and get more people to appreciate these places. [Though] I do wish what little money there is was better spent on repairing and replacing physical infrastructure," Hank Smith, a forester with the United States Forest Service, told me. From a safety angle, the differing viewpoints are more complex. National parks have a lesser known legacy of sexual assault, both inside and outside of NPS. One woman I spoke to, Christina Toms, a senior environmental scientist at the San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board, said a lack of connectivity may actually be discouraging some women from venturing into backcountry. "My work has taken me to some pretty isolated areas (including places where dead bodies have been found), and where I have cell service, I'm always grateful to have that connectivity in case things go south," Toms said in an email. But some also worry that increased service could also lead to more "false alarm" calls from inexperienced visitors reporting non-emergencies. (And in many cases, satellite phones or GPS emergency beacons are the preferred method of backcountry emergency communications.) "I'm sure some people will say that having their phone makes them 'safer' in the woods—but when everyone brings their phones to the backcountry, we will all be much less safe because the wilderness management agencies have limited resources and trouble distinguishing between actual emergencies and alarmed hikers who might not have prepared well for their trips," Jon Rosenfield, lead scientist for The Bay institute, a San Francisco Bay Area environmental nonprofit, told me. It's important to note that backcountry, which is almost any rural, undeveloped area, is legally different from wilderness. The latter is governed by the Wilderness Act of 1964, which dictates how these areas can be used. PEER has accused NPS of violating other laws, however, such as the National Environmental Policy Act and the National Historic Preservation Act. Ruch also believes the park has failed to produce a "before and after" comparison of cell coverage, calling the project a "corporate use of public lands and resources" by telecommunication companies. In a statement below, however, Yellowstone National Park said it will "recover 100% of the administrative costs associated with processing these requests from the companies that submitted them," and that the park "is not paying for construction on these projects." It also said the park did not provide maps for three of the cell towers because the towers "do not provide cellular service to customers." Yellowstone just recently closed its public comment period for the development of Mount Washburn. Meanwhile, Mount Rainier National Park, Grand Teton National Park, and Theodore Roosevelt National Park are in various stages of cellular coverage planning. "I don't really see an issue. If people are gonna spend time on their devices, they're gonna spend time on their devices," Smith said. "No one is forcing you to play Angry Birds while you're there." A spokesperson for Yellowstone National Park has provided Motherboard with the following statement, regarding PEER's claims: The park would like to make clear that this project will not expand the existing footprint of cell coverage out of developed areas of the park. With the exception of the new cellular tower near Canyon Village, this project is intended to improve the backhaul capacity of the existing cellular network. The project will not increase the network's footprint, but will improve service in the Canyon developed area (which is in the shadow of coverage from Mount Washburn). The new systems on the Mount Washburn Tower will not change the existing coverage area in the park. To your question about PEER's statement that "Yellowstone also appears to be violating National Park Service policy requiring coverage maps "showing the 'before' and 'after' service levels and signal strength for" every cell tower proposal (per NPS Reference Manual 53). The Park not only ignored this requirement but tried to hide the coverage maps it possessed. It has yet to produce maps for three of its five towers. The reason the park did not provide coverage maps for 3 of the towers is that they are part of cellular companies' backhaul infrastructure for coverage in the park. In other words, they do not provide cellular service to customers. Those towers provide a link between existing cell towers and the rest of the nation's cellular/data infrastructure. We provided maps for the two towers that will provide cell coverage as part of this project. To your question about the maintenance backlog, the park is not paying for construction on these projects. Cell service providers are. Yellowstone is going to recover 100% of the administrative costs associated with processing these requests from the companies that submitted them. Speaking to PEER's claim that we're ignoring National Park Service protocols, Bret De Young, Yellowstone's Supervisory Telecommunications Specialist, said "We're not ignoring the plan. Every decision about wireless telecommunication is evaluated to make sure it is consistent with park planning documents." He stated that "All wireless communication proposals are evaluated by the wireless committee and the superintendent to decide whether they should be approved."
News Article | June 21, 2017
For the first time since 1979 a total solar eclipse will be visible in the continental U.S. on Aug. 21, 2017, at 11:35 a.m., creating a rare and monumental sky-watching opportunity. As many Americans seek out the greatest places to view the celebrated celestial show, Wildlife Expeditions of Teton Science Schools in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, has announced once-in-a-lifetime private single-day and multi-day trips into Grand Teton National Park during the historic event. Described by USA Today as one of the 10 best places in the country to see the solar eclipse, Grand Teton National Park promises dramatic viewing with over two minutes of darkness as the center-line of the eclipse path passes directly over it. Guests of Wildlife Expeditions solar eclipse trips will have a prime opportunity for watching the solar eclipse, where the moon passes between the sun and the Earth temporarily blocking the sunlight. In a path curving across the U.S. that includes Grand Teton National Park, the sun will be totally blocked, making the region one of the best eclipse viewing spots. Before and after the eclipse, the Wildlife Expeditions safaris also offer spectacular wildlife viewing, spotting local fauna such as bears, wolves, moose, bison, elk, pronghorn, eagles and more. The private Multi-day Solar Eclipse Expedition, offers both 5- and 4-day trips taking place Aug. 19 – 23, beginning in Jackson, Wyo., and taking guests through Grand Teton National Park for an all-inclusive experience, escaping the town crowds to be immersed in the vast beauty of the wild backcountry. Guests travel comfortably in customized, safari-style vehicles with roof hatches for easy wildlife observation. The 5-day expedition includes exploring and spotting wildlife in Grand Teton National Park, a sunrise Snake River scenic float trip, a wildlife and wildflower hiking expedition and a visit to the National Museum of Wildlife Art. The 4-day trip also travels through Grand Teton National Park offering the river float and hike. On Aug. 21, both trips take guests to the ultimate position in the park for viewing the solar eclipse. (Note: 3-day trip also available; all trips have flexibility with dates.) Prices for the 5-day solar eclipse trip is $4,150 for one person or $5,875 for two/double occupancy. Pricing for the 4-day trip is $3,050 for one person; $4,775 for two. Additional people sharing the same room are $1,725 each. Accommodations are included in pricing and it is worth noting that these are some of the last rooms available in Jackson Hole for this experience. The private Single-day Solar Eclipse Expedition, on Aug. 21, will begin with an early morning drive from Jackson, Wyoming, through Grand Teton National Park and Bridger-Teton National Forest to view wildlife in the quiet, dawn hours leading up to the 11:35 a.m. eclipse, when the group will be positioned for best viewing in the park. After the eclipse, the expedition continues with wildlife viewing, learning about the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem and enjoying a picnic lunch before returning to Jackson that afternoon. The cost of the single-day Private Solar Eclipse Expedition for 7 people is $2,100 for the group, overnight accommodations not included. Celebrating a milestone 50th anniversary this year, Teton Science Schools teach about the natural world and the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem while inspiring curiosity, engagement and leadership through transformative place-based education. Created in 1999, Wildlife Expeditions is a division of the nonprofit Teton Science Schools, and the expert biologists on the Wildlife Expeditions solar eclipse trips will provide guests with scientific context for this rare celestial event as well as on the park’s features, wildlife and habitat. About Wildlife Expeditions of Teton Science Schools: With a mission of inspiring curiosity, engagement and leadership through transformative place-based education, Wildlife Expeditions of Teton Science Schools has a well-earned reputation of leading exceptional safari tours and locating wild animals in the wilderness in and around Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks. Jackson Hole, Wyoming's premier and original safari provider, Wildlife Expeditions offers family-friendly educational tours year-round in a stunning natural environment. The wildlife tour company has been featured in Conde Nast Traveler, as a bucket-list destination by the Travel Channel.com and as one of “10 Amazing Adventures” worldwide by USA Today. For more information or to book a Wildlife Expeditions tour, visit http://www.tetonscience.org.
News Article | February 15, 2017
“We all need an escape now and then ... to get in touch with our more natural side and let the cares of the world drift away," wrote Money Inc., in its recent list of top luxury wildlife resorts in the United States. "The perfect way to do this is to find one of the elusive wildlife lodges that still remain in the United States.”. One of the featured 10 lodges where visitors can find peace of mind in luxurious natural surroundings is the exclusive, all-inclusive Brooks Lake Lodge & Spa, located in scenic Wyoming backcountry near Jackson Hole and Yellowstone National Park. Money Inc.’s list of Top 10 Luxury Wildlife Lodges in the United States provides travelers with its top picks for best places to escape and enjoy wildlife, with Brooks Lake Lodge, situated at 9,200 ft. above sea level among rugged Rocky Mountain peaks, perfectly fitting the bill. With its full array of outdoor activities – hiking, horseback riding, fishing, archery and canoeing in summer and fall, and snowshoeing, cross country skiing, snowmobiling and ice fishing in winter – coupled with gourmet meals, plush accommodations and a full-service spa, the lodge has luxury in the wilderness covered. This month, popular travel magazine “Vacation Idea” shared its 23 Stunning Inns & Lodges in the U.S. Rocky Mountains, emphasizing destinations near national parks, and again Brooks Lake Lodge – located near Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks – made the list. Highlighting the resort as a “lovely Rocky Mountain getaway with rustic cabins surrounded by unforgettable scenery,” the travel website went on to list the historic guest ranch’s selection of outdoor lovers’ activities that take full advantage of the lodge’s remarkable wild setting, deep in Shoshone National Forest near Dubois, Wyoming. Also this month, historic Brooks Lake Lodge, built nearly 100 years ago in Western Craftsman style, made Only in Your State’s list of The 20 Places You Should Go in Wyoming in 2017. The popular website named Brooks Lake Lodge Wyoming’s “Most Hidden Resort,” including the secluded guest ranch on its impressive list of the state’s top destinations. “It’s hidden away in the Rocky Mountains, making it a peaceful vacation resort with luxurious rustic accommodations surrounded by gorgeous natural scenery,” writes the website. “It’s so nice to see Brooks Lake Lodge recognized among so many places to visit both nationally and within our state,” says General Manager Adam Long. “Every year we strive to create that perfect balance of nature, luxury and fun for our guests, who often return to us after enjoying memorable and meaningful vacations in our unique, remote setting. We are honored to be included in these recent ‘best’ lists that highlight many of the special things about Brooks Lake Lodge.” Brooks Lake Lodge & Spa, known for its remarkable backcountry location and excellent customer service with a nearly 1:1 guest-to-staff ratio, is currently enjoying its winter season with lots of new snow for the many winter enthusiasts who roam the nearly two million acres of snowy terrain for outdoor play before returning to the crackling fireplaces and delicious meals inside the lodge’s historic walls. All meals are included in overnight stays and served by the lodge’s master chef in the striking stone-and-timber dining hall. Guests of the lodge can also relax with a soak in the 11-by-17 ft. hot tub while taking in spectacular views of the Pinnacle Buttes and alpine Brooks Lake as well as choosing among a variety of massages and facials offered in the on-site Rocky Mountain Spa. Brooks Lake Lodge & Spa, a 100-year-old historic guest ranch near Jackson Hole, Grand Teton National Park and Yellowstone National Park, is located one mile from the North American Continental Divide, with views of the Pinnacle Buttes, Austin's Peak and Brooks Mountain. Surrounded by evergreen forests, wildlife and Brooks Lake, the exclusive, all-inclusive Wyoming Rocky Mountain resort offers five-star service, luxury accommodations and gourmet dining. The new separate spa facility was built with Western Craftsman-style detailing to complement the historic lodge. A dude ranch by summer and ski and snowmobile haven in the winter, the lodge provides year-round activities for outdoor enthusiasts. All-inclusive rates include lodging, meals, activities and spa access. For additional information and reservations visit http://www.brookslake.com or call 866.213.4022.
News Article | March 10, 2016
The shrub willow plantation is part of a broader five-year program called NEWBio, which is aimed at investigating and promoting sustainable production of woody biomass and warmseason grasses for energy in the Northeast. Planted in 2012 on land formerly owned by the State Correctional Institution at Rockview, the biomass crop will regrow and will be harvested every three years from now on. NEWBio, a regional consortium of institutions lead by Penn State and funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Institute of Food and Agriculture, is one of seven regional projects across the United States. Other consortium partners are Cornell University, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, West Virginia University, Delaware State University, Ohio State University, Rutgers University, USDA's Eastern Regional Research Center, and the U.S. Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Idaho National Laboratory. Researchers involved in the project include plant scientists, agricultural and biological engineers, agricultural safety and health specialists, agronomists, agricultural and forest economists, rural sociologists, supply-chain and business-development experts, and extension educators. "The shrub willow stand at Rockview can continue producing biomass for more than 20 years, and we hope to use it both as a source of renewable energy and as a platform for sustainability research," said Armen Kemanian, associate professor of production systems and modeling in the Department of Plant Science, one of the lead researchers in the project. "This is an excellent site to investigate impacts on soil and water quality, biodiversity, avoided carbon dioxide emissions, and the potential for growing a regional bio-based economy," he said. "Students from our college visit the site and have a firsthand and close-up view of this new crop for the region." Why shrub willow? Because the woody perennial likes to be cut, explained Kemanian. He noted that visitors to Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming may remember the "willow flats," grazed to a uniform height by moose and elk. "At the Rockview site we don't have moose, but we do take advantage of shrub willow's vigorous regrowth to harvest for multiple cycles," he said. "As perennial plants, they establish a root system that stabilizes the soil and stores substantial amounts of carbon that otherwise would be lost to the atmosphere." Perennial biomass crops shrub willow, switchgrass and miscanthus—all of which are being investigated at other experimental sites around the Northeast—also store and recycle nutrients, so they do not require much fertilizer and can improve water quality in streams, rivers and estuaries, such as the Chesapeake Bay. Increasing perennial vegetation is a critical component of Pennsylvania's water quality strategy, and these biomass crops allow vulnerable parts of the landscape to remain economically productive while protecting water quality. Shrub willow can produce the same amount of biomass as a corn crop with only a third of the nitrogen fertilizer, Kemanian pointed out. When the plants grow, they take carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. After harvest, when the biomass is combusted either as wood chips or as a liquid biofuel, the carbon dioxide returns to the atmosphere to complete the cycle. Felipe Montes, a research associate in the Department of Plant Science, established an array of sensors to measure carbon dioxide and water vapor fluxes, which are giving a vivid picture of the growth potential in the region. Shrub willow is one the first plants to leaf out in early spring and dies back late in the fall, and this long growing season makes it extremely efficient in converting sunlight and nutrients to a bioenergy feedstock. "We estimate that we can harvest 20 to 30 units of energy per unit of fossil energy invested in producing the crop, leading to fuel with a very low carbon footprint," Montes said. "The fact that this biomass can be converted to liquid fuel is one of the main advantages of shrub willow and other biomass crops. Low carbon liquid fuels are especially important for long distance transportation, shipping and aviation, where electric vehicles are not practical." Biomass energy could provide the social, economic and ecological drivers for a sustainable rural renaissance in the Northeast, according to NEWBio project leader Tom Richard, professor of agricultural and biological engineering and director of the Penn State Institutes of Energy and the Environment. He believes perennial energy crops are particularly well suited for the region, where forests and pasture long have dominated the landscape. Rocky and sloped soils are more compatible with perennial crops, while perennial root systems better tolerate wet springs and occasional summer drought, Richard said. Northeast biomass production has high water-use efficiency (biomass produced per unit of water transpired by plants) owing to the region's moderate temperatures and relatively high humidity. These perennial crops also increase organic matter in the soil, and coupled with efficient refining and manufacturing processes can produce carbon-negative energy and materials. "Concerns about energy, environmental and human health, rural economic development, and the need to diversify agricultural products and markets have made the development of sustainably produced biomass feedstocks for biofuels, bioproducts and bioenergy a critical national priority," said Richard. "Perennial bioenergy systems, such as the shrub willow demonstrated at Penn State, appear to hold an important key to future economic development for our region. But to unlock that future, we need to learn how to economically handle the harvesting, transportation and storage of massive volumes, which constitutes 40 to 60 percent of the cost of biomass. This project is providing the knowledge and experience needed for a regional bioeconomy to achieve commercial success." Explore further: Bioenergy crops could store more carbon in soil
News Article | June 22, 2016
Ticked Off! Here's What You Need To Know About Lyme Disease The cub of one of the most popular grizzly bears in the United States was killed in a hit-and-run incident on Sunday evening at Wyoming's Grand Teton National Park. Andrew White, a spokesman for the park, said a young bear was struck and killed by a car near Pilgrim Creek Road at about 10 p.m. Park officials have yet to confirm the identity of the cub through DNA testing, but White said they are confident that the animal was Snowy, the blond-faced cub of the famous female bear known as Grizzly 399. According to witnesses, Grizzly 399 even tried to save her injured cub but he eventually died. She later removed Snowy's body from the road. Park officials said they are still working to determine the circumstances surrounding the incident, as well as the identity of the driver that hit the bear cub. "[Grizzly] 399's cub, known as Snowy or Spirit by the bear watchers of Grand Teton, was adored for its antics and notably white face and will be sorely missed," the conservation group Wyoming Wildlife Advocates wrote on its Facebook page. Snowy's death could not have come at a worse time for grizzly bears and their advocates in the western United States. Animal rights activists have been trying to block plans by the federal government to remove grizzly bears from the list of animals protected under the Endangered Species Act. While the issue is still being debated on, wildlife officials in Montana and Wyoming have already begun preparing for the possibility of allowing bears to be hunted again. Wyoming Wildlife Advocates managing director Roger Hayden pointed out that Snowy's death shows just how vulnerable the bears in Greater Yellowstone parks are. Last week, the group submitted a proposal to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and state wildlife managers in Idaho, Montana and Wyoming to establish a no-hunting zone for grizzlies outside the Grand Teton and Yellowstone national park boundaries. Hayden said bears just like Grizzly 399 tend to stay near roads in order to be safe, but sometimes this habit is what leads to their deaths. "They are tolerant of people, yet people can cause their deaths — especially if the federal government allows states to hunt them," he said. Hayden added that bears living in Grand Teton and Yellowstone that manage to wander beyond the boundaries of the parks will be the ones most likely targeted by hunters. This could lead to even more tragedies involving park bears unless the animals are protected. © 2016 Tech Times, All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.