Yellowstone roads set to open
It’s time to get your summer park plans in order. The mild winter around Montana means that the parks are beginning to awake early this year.
Portions of roads inside Yellowstone National Park (open to bikes only for a few weeks) are set to open Friday.
The road from West Yellowstone and Mammoth Hot Springs to Old Faithful and the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone will open for the season at 8 a.m.
Each spring, Yellowstone National Park plow crews clear snow and ice from 198 miles of main road, 124 miles of secondary roads and 125 acres of parking lots inside the park, as well as 31 miles of the Beartooth Highway outside the park’s Northeast Entrance to prepare for the summer season.
Additional road segments in the park will open during May as road clearing operations progress.
We’ll be taking readers into both Yellowstone and Glacier in our upcoming Park-to-Park issue.
As for Glacier – here’s a look at plowing progress on Going-to-the-Sun-Road.
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Yellowstone! Glacier! Come with us on our Park-to-Park journey
We’ve got National Parks on the brain this month at Montana Magazine for a couple reasons.
For one, we’re preparing to send our Park-to-Park issue where we’ll take readers from Yellowstone to Glacier and back again in a couple ways (spoiler alert: there’s a map and a couple can’t-miss features.)
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For example, take writer Kelsey Dayton’s story on Yellowstone’s “geyser gazers.”
The feature showcases not only the geysers of Yellowstone, but the self-appointed stewards of the geysers. They’re a set of people who dedicate years’ worth of vacation time to documenting the activity of geysers. Their data allows rangers to guide millions of visitors around the park, so they can have their own geyser gazing experiences.
Our Park-to-Park issue ships to subscribers on April 30.
Also, the National Parks Service launched its Find Your Park campaign this week, as it gears up for the 2016 centennial of the National Parks System. The new website includes several videos – including this one where Grand Prismatic in Yellowstone makes an appearance.
Still want more from Glacier and Yellowstone? We’ll help you find the people and place that make Montana’s national parks special year round in Montana Magazine. Subscribe today!
List: Springtime is the best time to see Bighorn, Glacier
We know: There are a lot of “must visit” lists out there these days.
But it’s hard to resist sharing them when two of the “must visit” destinations are in our wonderful state.
Both Teton Canyon National Recreation Area and Glacier National Park made MSN Travel’s “10 Great National Parks to Visit This Spring” list.
Here’s what they had to say about Bighorn:
The park is home to wild horses, bighorn sheep and mountain lions, but the major attraction in the spring is fishing in Bighorn Lake—it’s a world-class trout fishery that should be on every angler’s list.
And what’s so special about Glacier in the springtime?
Though Glacier National Park is normally chilly in the spring, it is the best time to visit. The 700+ miles of hiking trails and abundance of wildlife are best experienced when the crowds are sparse
Here’s one of our most popular 2014 features from Glacier. It’s all about goats.
We’re gearing up to bring you a special Park to Park issue this summer – including one-of-a-kind feature stories on what make our parks special, and a road trip map to get you from one park to the other.
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Beautiful signs of spring already blooming in Glacier
There’s an unusual feeling in the air lately around Montana – and the people who live and work in Glacier National Park have been feeling it too. Even though it’s only February, the snow cover that the deer in the middle of the road was enjoying in December and January – is melting.
The unusually warm spring-like temperatures have prompted a flurry of Facebook posts by the park, noting that things are blooming and animals are waking up as the snow melts.
A post on Feb. 11 noted that pussy willow buds look ready to bud.
“This is most unusual and way too early as we still have a lot of winter to come in northern Montana. Buds on many cottonwoods also very swollen and looking ready to leaf out. Chickadees singing their “spring song.” And people out riding bicycles and flying kites. Feels a bit like the twilight zone.”
Another post of showed the browning meadows of Two Dog Flats near St. Mary Lake, an important winter habitat for elk.
If you haven’t already, be sure to follow Glacier National Park on Facebook for more updates and gorgeous photos from around the park. Also, check out GNP’s Flickr stream for some great images of a wolverine.
We’re proud of the Glacier photography we’ve featured, too. Check some out here.
And our readers have taken some great Glacier shots as well.
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Many Glacier’s winter keepers fight weather, find solace
Many Glacier Hotel in Glacier National Park is a lonely place during the winter.
Besides a few hearty animals – wolves, sheep and birds among them – the most abundant thing is snow.
But the historic hotel isn’t completely abandoned, as Missoulian reporter Rob Chaney found in his story “Winter Keepers,” a beautiful tale about the couple the lives at Many Glacier through the harsh winter months.
Six months ago, David and Rebecca Wilson would have been on the wait list to get a room at Many Glacier Hotel.
Today when they show up, gray jays and bighorn sheep come out to greet them. The black bear under the employee dormitory doesn’t bother to wake. They still struggle to get in, but now it’s snowdrifts and 70 mph winds blocking the way instead of throngs of tourists.
But, as Chaney explains, the job isn’t as lonely these days, as the Wilson’s blog about the job, mghwinterkeeper.com, is getting plenty of online traffic.
“We just did it for fun, to see if people noticed,” David Wilson said of the mghwinterkeeper.com blog the couple have maintained since October. “I had no idea so many people would find it, just by word of mouth. On a good day, we get 500 hits on the blog. People are always interested in what the weather’s doing up here.”
Want to see for yourself? Check out a gallery of wintry images from Many Glacier.
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Gift helps preserve Glacier of the past
We highlighted some good news for Yellowstone earlier this week, and now it’s time to share some good news from Glacier.
The park was given 21 historic paintings from the early 20th century from its former concessionaire, a goodwill move that will keep the paintings in their original homes.
As Missoulian reporter Vince Devlin tells us, Glacier Park Inc. donated the paintings to the park last week, even after losing its concessionaire contract for the park to Zanterra.
All the paintings originated between 1909 and 1915, and were either originally owned or commissioned by the Great Northern Railway. All depict scenes in and around Glacier.
The railroad, anxious to lure tourists to travel on its passenger trains, was instrumental in getting Glacier Park established in 1910. It built Many Glacier Hotel in 1915, and in 1930 acquired Lake McDonald Lodge, two of the properties where the paintings are located.
They include pieces by John Frey, Frank Stick, R.H. Palenske, Charles Defeo and an artist with the last name Richmond, about whom little is known. Some of the donated work is by unknown artists.
The only stipulation to the donation was the paintings remain in the properties for which they were created, Devlin wrote.
Cover photos captured the best of Montana
Just in time for the new year we’ve got a look back at the images that made our covers in 2014.
It’s a fun look back at the year of Montana Magazine issues, which started with a cover of a curious bobcat and ended with a cover that captured perhaps the cutest cowgirl in the state.
Of course, we couldn’t have done any of this without the wonderful group of people who share their work with us each issue. Our cover images were made by a diverse set of photographers. From Jaime and Lisa Johnson, who captured the snowy bobcat (January/February issue), to Lynn Donaldson who made the image of the tough cowboy riding at the Wild Horse Stampede in Wolf Point (March/April issue).
Gordon Sullivan captured the lightning bolt striking inside Medicine Rocks State Park for our March/April issue. Tony Bynum got a Glacier National Park mountain goat lounging in the unbelievable backdrop for our July/August issue.
We featured the Grand Prismatic Spring inside Yellowstone National Park, by Tom Murphy, on the September/October cover. Finally, Riley Jones was the adorable feature of our November/December cover, in an image made by Leland Howard.
Fan favorites of 2014: Which stories did you like the best?
With 2014 coming to a close it’s hard not to look back and remember more than a few great stories we found to share with you inside Montana Magazine.
But what did you, our online readers, decide were their favorites? Here’s our top four most popular stories of 2014, as decided by all our online friends.
- Unlocking history: Long-forgotten underground speakeasy uncovered in Butte :Writer Ted Brewer takes us under the streets of Butte to a place where Prohibition wasn’t given a second thought.
- Alpine Icons under observation: They’re one of the most iconic animals inside Glacier National Park, but surprising as it is, scientists don’t know much about mountain goats.
- Small prairie town fosters big-time creativity: Chester is a place where they keep grand pianos in grain elevators. And Grammy winner Philip Aaberg operates a bed and breakfast.
- Glasgow native donates wild gift to children’s museum: Skip Erickson has traveled the world hunting animals of every kind. Now, as he battles colon cancer, he’s giving his trophies to the local children’s museum
What’d we miss? Tell us your favorite feature of 2014 by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.