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Place as Text: Gardiner

May 28th, 2017 at 7:17 pm

Hello All!

We are currently finishing our stay in Gardiner.  After spending five days in Gardiner it was quite the experience for our pack. Throughout our visit we ventured to just about every corner of this small town. We stopped in many restaurants, shops, and checked out many of the tourist attractions. From checking these places out we came to realize that tourism is what keeps this town running.

IMG_0833(The picture to the left is of the original entry way into Yellowstone which tourist still travel through today).

Just yesterday we visited The Everything Store, on Park Street, and talked to a very unique lady that owned the shop and has lived here for seventeen years. She told us that “tourism is the town,” and that any interruption to the constant flow of tourists has a huge impact on the Gardiner community. A few years ago Yellowstone decided to upgrade the entrance to Gardiner by paving it and planting some new trees and bushes, but the lady at the shop told us that when they closed the area to do the upgrades that the lack of business hit them hard and it still hasn’t caught back up, and won’t for a while. The last thing she said to us was that the park is a joke to many of the locals because they would stand up for the park, but if they were ever struggling then the park would not stand up for them. She wishes that the park would just do some simple things like adding trashcans to their upgraded area. It’s really ironic that the town feels that way about the park because the Roosevelt Arch at the entrance says, “For the benefit and enjoyment of the people.”


Gardiner is a gorgeous place from the views and the wildlife to the architecture and wild-west feel. The town is clearly set up to highlight the views and draw in IMG_9668tourists. Gardiner also has shorter buildings just like Jackson so that you can enjoy the views from anywhere in town. The entrance to the town, which is the north entrance into the park is beautiful and shows off the entrance to Yellowstone with some beautiful architecture and the Roosevelt arch. This is such a cool way to come into the community and you get the western vibe they want you to feel. Another interesting thing about the architecture is that they are trying to modernize the town, which means construction and the beginning of big changes for Gardiner. On Main Street we noticed that the K Bar, a bar and pizza restaurant, has a very old-fashioned western, saloon style appearance but the building being built right next door has a more modern design. This is just the beginning of what could be an entirely new community in the not too distant future.

IMG_0836(This is a picture of a store front incentivizing tourist to come in because of a sale they are having.  You can also see the mountains in the glare).

Not to our surprise, the prices here were high on everything just like Jackson. The only noticeable difference here is that alcohol was much cheaper than Jackson and even Farmville. One interesting thing we noticed was that there was no sales tax on everything we purchased. Our pack also spoke to a worker at the General pharmacy, a couple doors down from The Everything Store, who told us that sales tax doesn’t start until June 1st and ends September 1st, which is surprising because that is basically unheard of at home.

Just like everywhere else, one of our favorite parts of Gardiner is the wildlife. Gardiner is so much closer to the park than the other places we have visited, which brings a lot more wildlife into town. The coolest part is that at any time of the day we can walk out on the balcony of our hotel rooms and see one to three elk grazing right across the river in pretty much the same spot. Last night we even had to wait a minute to cross the parking lot because there were three mule deer hanging out right outside of our room! Its so crazy that the animals have no fear of us since they are so used to human interaction. Definitely not something we’re used to at home!

IMG_9680 (This picture shows the landscape around Gardiner, and the hill behind our hotel which is normally filled with elk/white tailed deer).

FullSizeRender(Map of the route we took in Gardiner, Montana)

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Place as Text: Cody

May 27, 2017 at 7:30 pm

Hello All!

Today we got to explore a town called Cody, Wyoming. We began our small adventure when we were dropped off in a parking lot next to a famous Buffalo Bill’s Irma Hotel. As we walked down Sheridan Ave., we saw several shops that were promoting the wildlife which is there main attraction in Cody, Wyoming. We passed a store called True Indian which had a bunch of animal skulls, calf skins, IMG_9568even a bear rug outside of the shop. As we walked a little further we saw a jewelry store known as The Golden Buffalo which promoted the buffalo as the signature of Wyoming. They had a poster in their front window with the buffalo diamond necklace with the word, keepsake. We found it interesting that the jewelry store was promoting the buffalo as the keepsake as they do not have much buffalo in Cody in comparison with Yellowstone National Park.

IMG_9579(The picture to the left is of the the signature of Wyoming, aka the bison).

Another aspect of Cody we noticed as we were walking down the road was that the buildings were taller than in Jackson, Wyoming, and the downtown was not as symmetrical in architecture. By this I mean, buildings were different heights, and different designs where as in Jackson the buildings downtown were all the same height and all the same color and design for the most part.  The landscape was fairly flat around the town, with mountains in sight every direction we looked. The town itself was not directly a valley, however, parts of the town were located in the flood plain and a valley.  In Cody there are many ranchers that use the flat plains for their livestock to graze, however, we learned many locals are okay with the grizzlies being around the town, which are quite common in Cody, and strongly dislike the wolves.

As we walked down the main street (Sheridan Ave) we went into the local bookstore where we talked to an employee who moved to Cody six years ago. Laure, the employee, basically said that the locals believe in cohabiting with the wildlife and want to see the wildlife on their landscape. They do not want the animals to be afraid to come to their town, and as long as locals are smart about their surroundings then there is much less risk of attacks. Lauren believes that tourism is the town of Cody. Without tourism many local businesses would not be in town. She also touched briefly how as of the last few years tourism has been increasing dramatically in Yellowstone which increases the tourism in the surrounding towns as they need places to stay. She said locals for the most part appreciate their present as long as there is respect for them, and the town.  We saw outside of her show a sign that show’s her support for Yellowstone National Park which in turns creates more business in the town of Cody because more and more tourists are coming.

IMG_9672(The picture to the left is showing the town’s support for Yellowstone National Park which in turns benefits them due to tourism increasing).

We walked a bit further where we went into a high-end furniture shop. It was interesting as we walked around and saw the kinds furniture they were displaying. The furniture store was promoting the Wild West type of vibe, with wood bed frames, animal heads on walls, and animal printed chairs. We then had the opportunity to talk to the owner of the store who gave us quite the opposite opinion on not only the town, but on wolves from what we previously heard from others while on this trip. This was interesting to us because most people don’t like to give us their opinions on such conflicting issues like the wolves without knowing who we are really. However, she explained to us that the wolves kill to just kill. Her and her husband do participate in the managed hunts every season because she does not believe the wolves in Yellowstone that were reintroduced from Canada should not be allowed in Yellowstone. Although her and her husband do hunt the wolves, they don’t believe in hunting all predators. They have a family of foxes that live in their back yard and they have even given them names! She has horses, and last summer one of her mares gave birth to a colt, and the wolves came and killed the colt because they smelled the fresh placenta from the birthing process, so now when they have babies they have to get rid of all the blood/placenta immediately to avoid that situation taking place again.

IMG_9581(The picture to the left is of the high end furniture store we visited, and it shows the the kinds of furniture people in Cody use to decorate their homes/the look they want in their homes).

All in all, the individuals we talked to while in Cody wanted to educate us, and help us understand their view points even if we don’t agree.  They were not trying to argue, but rather explain the facts that they knew.  Managing wildlife is something that will never have one resolution because not everyone will be pleased with the final answer.  Cody was a larger town than Gardiner, and was bout three hours away from Gardiner.  However, I am glad we had the opportunity to go and learn new perspectives, and see the differences in landscape.

IMG_8304(This is a map of the route we took while in Cody).

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Place as Text: Jackson

05/23/2017 at 4:30pm

Hello Everyone!

Our “pack” (Fire 2 as we are known while in Yellowstone), was assigned to the far end of West Broadway st. which was approximately 1.3 miles away from the hotel we were staying at.  As we were being driven to the location (Albertson’s one of  the local grocery stores) where we were going to begin this adventure of learning more about the town of Jackson Hole, Wyoming we were able to get a feel of the geographic location.  We noticed the outer part of West Broadway was much more residential with nail spas, banks, houses, etc. which were all spread out when compared to the Broadway street you see in the more commercial central town area which consists of store fronts that are attached and clustered more together due to the limited amount of privately owned land.  The town is also full of short buildings, and no sky scrapers.  This is to conserve the western vibe of the town which is what attracts so many tourists each year to come and stay in the town.  We also noticed that street is surrounded by mountain ranges on both sides.  On one side you have the mountains which are used for skiing, and contain more trees and plants.  On the other side of the street you see mountains that are not as “lush” with less trees, and more bare ground.

When we arrived at the grocery store, we decided to enter the grocery store to see if we could find anyone to talk to briefly about their view on the town of Jackson.  After taking a short lap around the grocery store we found a man named troy in the produce section.  Troy has lived in Jackson his entire life, and loves this town for many reasons.  A direct quote form Troy as to why he loved this town was, “the people are nice, and there are no drive by shootings.”  This relates to his next point that this is a small town, and everyone knows everyone if they are locals.  There is a sense of community and safety that comes with the small town aspect.  Troy also loves the easy accessibility of outdoor activities such as: fishing, hiking, and camping that Jackson provides being so close to the Grand Tetons.  After we left the grocery store we started to head back down the path toward the the hotel, but we were able to recognize different stickers, signage, pamphlets and just observe the people in Jackson.

IMG_9318                       (Photo of car with bumper sticker that says, “JH.”)

As stated above, we saw many forms of public documents.  Although we were walking in a more residential area, locals were still promoting their stores to everyone, not just residents of Jackson as well as promoting lodging for guests even away from the commercial town where most hotels are.  We also saw a big sign that was warning drivers of deer crossing while walking down the street.  We saw a car with the bumper sticker that read, “JH.”  This shows the local pride throughout the town, and that they are proud to have Jackson Hole represented on their car  (picture of this posted above).

IMG_9312            (The photo to the left is cautioning drivers of potential animal crossing).

We saw homes that were built going up the mountain slope (skiing mountain side), and not just on the flat terrain.  The houses were not in a typical suburban community we would see in Farmville, but rather spread around as much as the small amount of private land available to them will allow.  This observation of the houses leads into the conversation we had with two individuals outside of a liquor store who were happy to talk to us about Jackson.  Originally we were speaking to a man named Mark who moved to Jackson 12 years ago for the skiing.  He said he saw moose quite frequently, and that tourists need to respect wildlife and the rules that are put in place to maintain the 25 yard rule for elk, moose, bison, etc., and the 100 yard rule for wolves and bears.  He focused a lot on the housing crisis in Jackson.  In summary, Mark said that most locals are working 2-3 jobs in order to just live in Jackson.  Then you have the millionaires that live in Jackson as well, but there is not “true” middle class in this town.  A woman named Tammy chimed in on the conversation, and said in summary as someone who moved here eight years ago she sees tourism as a great benefit to this town.  However, with all these tourist come people who fall in love with this town, and then in turn want to move to the town.  This great demand to live in Jackson, and the small amount of privately owned land allows the housing prices to remain insanely high.

IMG_9313(Picture above is of signs we passed that is promoting visitors to come stay on the residential side of town, also you can see the ski mountains in the background as touched on in the beginning).

All in all, Jackson is what we expected after doing some pre-departure quantitative investigation on the median income, and housing prices.  Jackson has turned into a “tourist” town after being promoted by those who visited before them.  Tourist flock to Jackson for its small-town western vibe it presents itself as.  Locals have differing opinions when it comes to the tourists, however, most will agree that they are necessary for the economy in Jackson.  Exploring Jackson was quite the adventure, and we cannot wait to be back for one last day at the end of our trip as we now head to Gardner, Montana for the next few days.


(The picture above is a rough sketch of the route we traveled (West Broadway) along with surrounding roads and views we saw).

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Stewardship Dialogue Part 1

Fire in Yellowstone

Where do you fall in terms of the benefits and negative aspects of fire on the ecosystem in Yellowstone?   #LUBlazin2

How to Follow Yellowstone Fires

To respond to the question of whether or not you believe the fires in Yellowstone either benefit or harm the ecosystem, you can post a response on Instagram (our Instagram name is @fireluynp, if you would like to follow our page!), or Twitter with the hashtag #LUBlazin2  in your post(s). Also, you can watch our blog for updates as we will continue to post as we travel to Yellowstone National Park to learn more about the environmental impact of fires on the ecosystem.

Learn More About the Fires of Yellowstone

     Yellowstone’s landscape has been shaped by naturally caused fire for 14,000 years. Fire has been an essential element in shaping the ecology of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (“Fire Management”).  Fires provide scientists with an opportunity to study the ecosystem in Yellowstone, however, there is a great debate as to whether or not these fires should be allowed to burn, or if they should be suppressed.

     There are several factors that affect the size/severity of fires in Yellowstone which includes: type of vegetation, fire origin, time since the last standing replacing fire, moisture in the dead and down logs, length of drought, temperature, humidity and wind (Gilbert, “Fire”).  Around the months of July to end of September the number and extent of the fires that occur are dependent on the efforts to suppress those fires and the environmental conditions (Gilbert, “Fire”). Yellowstone National Park operates under the 2009 Federal Wildland Fire Policy, which continues to evolve with experience and new knowledge of the fires.  For example, current guidelines allow firefighters to manage a natural fire for multiple objectives(“Fire Management”).  Originally fires were either “suppression” or “fire-use for resource benefit.”   Now, firefighters can suppress one flank of a fire to protect structures and people while allowing another flank to burn to achieve natural fire benefits.  Yellowstone park is required to protect human life as well as the approximately 2% of Yellowstone’s 2.2 million acres that are considered developed from the threat of fire-while at the same time letting fire carry out its ecological role in the landscape as much as possible(“Fire Management”).

     Fire promotes habitat diversity by removing the forest over-story, allowing different plant communities to become established and preventing trees from becoming established in grassland (Gilbert, “Fire”).  Trees that are burned from the fires are not torn down as they are part of the ecosystem, and provide a home for different wildlife.  The trees fall on their own time, and then provide nutrients to the soil.  Fire increases the rate at which nutrients become available to plants by rapidly releasing them from wood and forest litter by hastening the weathering soil minerals (Gilbert, “Fire”) . This is important because Yellowstone has a cold/dry climate where decomposition rates are slower in comparison to hot/humid areas (Gilbert, “Fire”).  Fire does not typically harm the below-ground root systems and allows plants to increase in productivity because fire rapidly releases nutrients from wood and forest litter (regrowth begins as soon as moisture is available) (Gilbert, “Fire”).  Many plants of Yellowstone have adapted to these fires, and in some cases rely on these fires in order to increase nutrient availability.  

     Most wildlife is not harmed from fires, however, in the fire of 1988 the moose population drastically declined after these 50 different fires spanned over one million acres which destroyed many animals homes/shelters (“Fire Management”).  The exact reason as to why the moose population decline is unclear, although it did occur right after Yellowstone’s greatest wildfire (some of the 50 fires that summer were naturally occurring and some were accidents from tourist bonfires, etc.,) (Hunter, “All About the Yellowstone Fires”).  Many large grazing animals are able to escape the actual fires, but are faced with a different set of problems when the meadows are burned before the onset of winter causing them to occasionally have to migrate out of the park for available food.  Although this is bad for those who need to graze, this benefits the wolves and other animals that benefit from the loss of cover available to their prey, allowing hunting them to be much easier (Hunter, “All About the Yellowstone Fires”).  The fires of Yellowstone National Park are currently allowed to burn as long as it is benefiting the ecosystem and not harming any visitors, or affecting the 2.2% of Yellowstone that is developed.  However, it is important to keep in mind the dangers of letting the fires continue to burn, as well as the benefits of the fires on the ecosystem.

Do you think fires should be allowed to burn to benefit the ecosystem, or do you think they should be suppressed? #LUBlazin2


Hunter, Daryl L. “All About the Yellowstone Fires.” All About the Yellowstone Fires. N.p., n.d. Web.

18 May 2017.

Gilbert, David T. “Fire.” Yellowstone Issues and Resources Handbook (2016): 157-69.Fire. NPS,

  1. Web. 05 May 2017.

“Fire Management.” National Parks Service. U.S. Department of the Interior, n.d. Web. 18 May 2017


More Resources:

Website: The Value of Fires to Yellowstone National Park

Explore the benefits of fires in Yellowstone.

Article: Ecological Consequences of Fire

Learn more about ecological consequences of fires in Yellowstone.

Audio & Website: Remembering the 1988 Yellowstone Fires

Learn about Yellowstone’s greatest fire that covered nearly one million acres in 1988 through audio and/or website.

Article: Ecosystem and Landscape Ecology Lab

This article helps explain the landscape and ecosystem of Yellowstone National Park

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Gonzalez, Kinkoph and Lamons

Christina Gonzalez: Kinesiology Major and Biology Minor

Madeline Kinkoph: Nursing Major and Biology Minor

Micheal Lamons: Criminal Justice Major

Our pack is analyzing the effects fire has on the National Yellowstone Park ecosystem. Fire has direct and indirect effects on the environment. Proper use of prescribed fire, and evaluation of the benefits and costs of a burn require knowledge of how fire affects vegetation, wildlife, soil, water, and air and in turn how these impact humans especially in population centers.

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