Yellowstone National Park

Jim Pasco / Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone National Park is reporting a record high number of visitors in October.

Just over 194,800 visited the park in October, surpassing the previous October record of over 189,000 set in 2010. 

There were over 3.4 million recreational visits to Yellowstone in the first 10 months of 2014, an increase of over 10 percent over the same period last year.

With two months left in the calendar year, 2014 is already the second-highest visitation year on record. The park's peak year was 2010, when there were over 3.6 million visitors.

Neal Herbert / Yellowstone National Park | Flickr Creative Commons

A German citizen who crashed a drone into a lake in Yellowstone National Park this summer has been banned from the park for a year and was ordered to pay $1,600 in fines and restitution.

Andreas Meissner of Koenigswinter, Germany, was charged with four federal misdemeanors after a drone he was using to shoot video of a charity bicycle ride through the park crashed into Lake Yellowstone on July 18.

Law enforcement at Yellowstone National Park is investigating the death a woman who worked there.

Park officials say 21-year-old Kassandra "Kassie" Wieferich was found dead Tuesday night in the Old Faithful Lodge area.

Officials started searching for Wieferich, a park concession employee from Twin Bridges, Montana, on Tuesday after she missed shifts at work and failed to meet a family member on Monday afternoon.

The Park Service didn't announce the discovery of her body until Wednesday to allow notification of her family.

Jim Peaco / Yellowstone National Park | Flickr Creative Commons

A new U.S. Geological Survey report indicates a slightly greater earthquake hazard in the Greater Yellowstone region of Wyoming, Montana and Idaho than previously thought.

And the USGS map of seismic hazards shows that the region is as seismically hazardous as anywhere in the United States. 

University of Utah geophysicist Bob Smith tells the Jackson Hole News & Guide that the nationwide USGS earthquake hazard maps and adjoining documents were last updated in 2006.

Yellowstone National Park, Bison, Lamar Valley
Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

Yellowstone National Park administrators are recommending the removal of roughly 900 bison next winter through hunting, shipments to slaughter and for research purposes.

The proposal represents about 19 percent of the park's wild bison.

Officials say removing the animals will relieve population pressures that periodically push large numbers of migrating bison into Montana during harsh winters.

Wildlife advocates say a better approach would be allowing bison into areas outside the park where they are now barred.

Jim Pasco / Yellowstone National Park

Rangers have not been able to spot the unmanned drone that crashed and sank in a hot spring at Yellowstone National Park last weekend. A tourist flew a drone into the hot spring despite a park ban on drones.

Park spokesman Al Nash says rangers are considering using a helicopter to see if they can spot it from the air.

Even if they find it, Nash tells the Jackson Hole News & Guide that it's not known if the drone can be removed from the Grand Prismatic Spring.

Yellowstone, Old Faithful Inn
Yellowstone National Park / Flickr Creative Commons

Yellowstone National Park is looking local and organic for its food service menus.

The park's striving to make 50 percent of its food purchases from within 500 miles of the park or from a certified organic provider by 2016.

Today, about 34 percent of the park's food is local or organic.

But park concessionaire Xanterra finds that supporting local growers while keeping prices low in the nation's first national park can be a challenge.

Dylan Hoffman is director of sustainability for Xanterra.

squirrel, fire, forests
David Maher / Flickr Creative Commons

The patchy recovery of lodgepole pine trees after the 1988 Yellowstone National Park fire could be due in part to the effects of squirrels.

Research from the University of Wyoming finds red squirrels could be having an impact on how lodgepole pine forests evolve.

Yellowstone NPS / Flickr Creative Commons

Seismographs have picked up a swarm of earthquakes in the northwestern corner of Yellowstone National Park, including dozens early Tuesday.

The University of Utah Seismograph Station reported five small earthquakes including those with magnitudes of 3.4, 2.7 and 3.2 in a 20-minute period starting at 3:33 a.m. in an area 16 to 18 miles south of Gardiner.

Kim Keating / U.S. Geological Survey

State wildlife biologists have started trapping grizzly bears in southeastern Idaho as part of a scientific study and are advising visitors to heed orange warning signs at major access points.

Gregg Losinski of Idaho Fish and Game in a news release on Tuesday says the trapping has started and will run through Aug. 26.

Losinski says the trapping will take place within the Island Park Caldera and the Centennial Mountains of Idaho.

gray wolf, wolves
U.S. Fish & Wildlife

Montana wildlife commissioners have initially approved a proposal allowing landowners to kill up to 100 gray wolves annually if the predators pose a perceived threat.

Thursday's action significantly expands the circumstances under which wolves can be killed without a hunting license. In the past, that was largely limited to instances in which wolves attacked livestock.

Under the new rule, shooting wolves would be permitted whenever they pose a potential threat to human safety, livestock or domestic dogs. State lawmakers last year passed a law requiring the expansion.

Scientists say a voracious species of trout that entered Yellowstone Lake and decimated its native trout population appears to be in decline following efforts to kill off the invading fish.

Non-native lake trout were first found 20 years ago in the 132-square mile lake in the center of Yellowstone National Park. Crews have since caught and removed more than a million of the fish in hopes that cutthroat trout populations would rebound.

On Tuesday, scientists from the park and Trout Unlimited said those efforts are finally showing progress.

Yellowstone NPS / Flickr Creative Commons

Ten entities have submitted proposals to take bison from Yellowstone National Park that came through an experimental program to establish new herds of the animals.

Applicants include wildlife agencies in Utah and Minnesota, three American Indian tribes and private conservation groups in Montana, Nebraska, New York and Colorado.

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks released details of the proposals on Monday. Spokesman Ron Aasheim said the agency hopes to relocate the roughly 135 bison by the end of November.

Yellowstone, Mammoth, hot springs
Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

Visitors will be able to travel through the east, west and north entrances to Yellowstone National Park starting Friday.

Park officials say many popular park destinations including Old Faithful, the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, Norris Geyser Basin and Fishing Bridge will be open although visitor services will be limited at first.

Avalanches could still cause periodic closures of the east entrance road for the next several weeks because of deep snowpack above Sylvan Pass. Vehicles will not be able to stop on the pass because of the slide potential.

Yellowstone NPS / Flickr Creative Commons

Yellowstone National Park is trying to fight online rumors that running bison seen in a YouTube video are fleeing a possible explosion of the park's supervolcano.

The video was posted on March 20, 10 days before a magnitude-4.8 earthquake hit, the strongest quake in 30 years.

Yellowstone NPS / Flickr Creative Commons

Yellowstone National Park administrators say shipments of wild bison to slaughter are done for the winter after almost 600 animals were removed in an effort to shrink their numbers.

Federal and state officials said Friday that 258 migrating bison were captured and transferred for slaughter. Hunters have killed at least 264, and 60 were placed in an animal contraception experiment.

The removals were part of an ongoing effort to reduce Yellowstone's herds to about 3,000 animals under an agreement with Montana.

Yellowstone National Park, Bison, Lamar Valley
Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

Government and independent scientists say a seven-year study of disease in Yellowstone National Park's wild bison shows non-infected animals can be safely removed and used to start new herds.

The results bolster arguments that an animal driven to the brink of extinction last century could be restored to parts of its once-vast territory without transmitting a disease to cattle.

Efforts to relocate or provide new habitat for the park's surplus bison have stalled recently in the face of livestock industry opposition.

Yellowstone NPS / Flickr Creative Commons

Yellowstone National Park administrators say they plan to ship as many as 600 bison to slaughter this winter if harsh conditions inside the park spur a large migration of the animals into Montana.

The Billings Gazette reports only 60 or 70 bison have crossed the park's northern boundary at last count this winter.

A state-federal agreement signed in 2000 requires the bison population to be kept at roughly 3,000 animals. There were about 4,600 as of June 2013.

Yellowstone National Park, Bison, Lamar Valley
Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

Yellowstone National Park administrators say shooting wild bison with vaccine-laced "biobullets" to prevent the spread of an animal disease would be too ineffective to justify the expense.

Tuesday's announcement means a program that has led to the periodic capture and slaughter of thousands of migrating bison will continue.

For more than a decade, wildlife officials have weighed shooting Yellowstone bison with absorbable, vaccine-laced bullets to prevent the spread of the disease brucellosis to livestock. The concept was supported by cattle ranchers.

Yellowstone, Mammoth, hot springs
Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

A new study shows the chamber of hot molten rock below Yellowstone National Park is more than 2 and a-half times larger than previously estimated.

Lead author Jamie Farrell of the University of Utah said Monday the magma chamber is about 55 miles long, 18 miles wide and runs at depths from 3 to 9 miles below the earth.

That means the supervolcano below Yellowstone has the potential to erupt with the force of its largest-ever eruption 2.1 million years ago.

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