Sea Kayak Trips in Yellowstone, Jackson Hole, Grand Teton Wyoming Kayaking and Canoeing – Sea Kayaking and Guided Fishing Trips, Eco Tours in Yellowstone National Park Kayak Trips in Yellowstone, Jackson Hole, Grand Teton Wyoming Kayaking and Canoeing – Sea Kayaking and Guided Fishing Trips, Eco Tours in yellowstone National Park

Site News

 

Budget Cuts Delay Yellowstone Summer Openings

Our season at Geyser Kayak Tours has always been the same as that of Yellowstone National Park. After all, nobody can even drive into the Park during Spring, until Park officials open the roads. Some years we have to delay our opening further because of weather, or more specifically ice on Yellowstone Lake. In 2011, Yellowstone Lake did not thaw until the 3rd week in June!

This year, thanks to across-the-board federal spending cuts that took effect Friday, Yellowstone National Park will not be opening on schedule. This not only effects thousands of visitors from across the country, but also effects locals who depend on those visitors for their jobs.

Staggered opening dates for Yellowstone’s five entrances will be delayed by several weeks, as the costly and complex road-clearing operations that normally begin in early March will wait until more snow has melted before starting.

Superintendent Dan Wenk is expected to formally announce the delays Today in a conference call with reporters. But in a conversation earlier this week with gateway community business leaders, Wenk detailed how federally mandated spending cuts will effect Yellowstone.

The park’s north and west entrances will open April 26, one week behind schedule, according to Scott Balyo, executive director of the Cody Country Chamber of Commerce, who was among those included in the call with Wenk. The east, south and northeast entrances will all open two weeks later than scheduled, with the east entrance opening May 17 and the south and northeast entrances opening May 24.

 

 

Appetite for Moose

Wolves roaming the north end of Grand Teton National Park and southern Yellowstone National Park have developed an appetite for moose during the wintertime, a study shows.

Some 43 moose, including 25 cows, were found wolf-killed by Grand Teton and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service researchers during the winters of 2010 and 2011. Preliminary data shows another 13 were killed during 2012, Grand Teton biologist Steve Cain said. Wildlife officials have been dealing with a Jackson Hole moose herd in decline for years.

The two wolf packs studied were the Phantom Springs and Pacific Creek packs, which each numbered 13 animals in year-end 2011 counts. The packs were chosen because their home ranges are free of elk feedgrounds. In addition to the 43 moose killed during the first two winters of the study, the packs killed 58 elk and four deer. Predation dynamics in the summer differ significantly because of prey availability and risk. The two packs subsisted almost entirely on the smaller species during the summer, eating a diet of 93 percent elk.

Elk occupy the northern reaches of Grand Teton National Park and surrounding national forest in high densities during the warm seasons, but they migrate south when the snow flies. They mostly winter on the National Elk Refuge and on state-run feedgrounds in the Gros Ventre drainage.

The Jackson Hole moose herd is less than a fifth the size it was 20 years ago, Game and Fish “job completion reports” show. The population, estimated at 919 at the last count, is about quarter the department’s objective of 3,600. Reasons for the local decline are a matter of debate, but they are thought to include climate change, wildfire-scarred landscapes, parasites and increased abundance of large predators.

Moose getting hit by vehicles has been one factor in the decline. Nine moose were killed on park roads last year, and Highway 390 has been a hotspot for moose deaths over the past several winters. Herdwide road kill counts are not currently available, but they are being assembled by the Jackson Hole Wildlife Foundation.

Game and Fish officials in charge of managing the moose herd weren’t dismissive of the effects of wolf predation.

“Any mortality on the reproductive sector [of the moose herd] is something that we have to contend with,” Game and Fish biologist Doug Brimeyer said.

In mild winters, Brimeyer said, the feedground system could be a cause of increased wolf predation on moose.

“Feedgrounds do pull elk down onto localized areas,” he said, “but if they didn’t pull the elk down we’d be dealing with other problems.

“In a more severe winters, those elk would leave those areas also,” Brimeyer said. “Before wolves were there, I witnessed mass movements out of the Buffalo Valley.”

 

Geyser Kayak Tours, a division of Kayak Yellowstone LLC, is an Authorized Permitee of Yellowstone National Park   Website Design: 225south.com