May 28 2016

Posted by under Uncategorized

Photographs as Visual Data

In this post we are showing you all 3 important images that convey our packs issue of fire management that we found during our exploration through the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.

If you have any other pictures to share with us please tag us on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook!

#ItsLitYNP                                                                                                                       IMG_2385 IMG_2665

The image to the left is telling the public that forest fires are a threat to the community and that the community needs to always know how high the risks of fires are in their location However, the image to the right talks about how wildfires are a benefit to the ecosystem because they not only help for seed dispersal to grow more trees, but also benefit elk, bison, wolves, etc. The contrast between these two images are quite interesting because the image on the left portrays fire in a negative, life threatening light while the image on the right portrays fire as a benefit to the natural park. I think both these images are successful at portraying their message because they both have a clear way of communicating the issue at stake. I think the contrast in the messages being communicated led to a greater argument of whether or not fires should be viewed in a negative light or a positive light.


This photo really caught our eye because fire management is a huge concern for the locals that live near the forests. They have a massive amount of expensive land and some of it is being burned in the process of the forest fires which decreases the value and also the beautiful view that they paying for. This image shows how powerful a fire can be, it can erase everything in it’s path, and therefore, conveys how important fire management is in Yellowstone National Park.


This picture was important to put in our gallery because it really shows the distinct path that the fire took and also how the trees have regrown.  Wildfires are beneficial for the ecosystem because they allow for the regeneration and spread of lodge pole pine trees which open up and disperse when heat is around them. Fires do not just help trees regenerate but they provide a food source for elk and black bears.  We learned this information from Dr. Kelrick during our oral history foray!


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May 28 2016

Posted by under documents,Stewardship

public documents found around Yellowstone

Public documents are meant to convey a message to the community about a particular event or issue. They can be anything from maps and brochures to signs and quotes off walls. These are some examples we found around the park the relate to our pack’s issue of fire and other big issues in Yellowstone.


This public document is about recreation in Yellowstone, specifically ziplining.This relates to my lenses topic of economics within the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem because I have noticed that a lot of towns within the ecosystem depend on Yellowstone Tourists to keep their economy up and running. This public document was found on the streets of Gardiner, MT and judging by the location this brochure was found I can tell that the town of Gardiner uses tourism to fuel their economy.   While reading the document I noticed that the audience this document is geared to is tourists because they use phrases such as “Gaze at the gorgeous pristine vistas” and “Have a birds eye view of the basin.” These phrases can also be used to draw non locals into using their business which brings us back to the general theme that most Yellowstone towns solely depend on tourism to keep their economy running.

public document 2

This is a public document found in the Grand Canyon visitor center. It was a huge picture on the wall just as you walked in and it stared at you. This is a place where many tourists visit and I know when I saw it made me want to return back to this beautiful place. I believe this picture was trying to catch a visitor’s eye and make them stop and capture the beauty of the Geiser, just as I did. This public document related to my aesthetics lense because it truly shows the natural beauty of the park. It was so amazing to me because of how big, colorful, and realistic it looked. The quote above it dictates what my original thought was, “Yellowstone National Park is an immense, active volcano- one of the largest and most violent on Earth,” and when I look at this picture I think of beautiful and breath-taking it is not about how potentially dangerous that geiser could be. Everything we look at depends on our perspective and the lense that we are looking through, this public document is just a tiny example of that.

jkzsfkjdfThis is another public document relating to our pack’s controversial topic of fire. When exploring Yellowstone we noticed that there were a lot of signs talking about how the people of Yellowstone can prevent fire. However, when we were talking to scientists and looking around the visitor’s center we noticed that fire actually helps the ecosystem. Fire helps spread seeds of trees and provide food for elk, bison, and bears of Yellowstone. This document relates to our topic of fire because we want to know which is the best way to handle fire and from information gathered, most people of Yellowstone lean toward letting fires burn naturally instead of trying to control them.




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May 21 2016

Posted by under Gardiner,Places

Gardiner, Montana


During our exploration of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem we ventured our way from Jackson, Wyoming to Gardiner, Montana on Tuesday, May 17th. The population of this small town is just shy of 900, with 875 people living in this remote location. We stayed in Gardiner for five nights (May 17-21) . When we arrived to the hotel, the first thing we noticed was the view. We all agreed that the view of the mountains and the Yellowstone River is what attracts people to this area. While exploring the town we collected many observations. When going to dinner one night we saw an elk hanging out in the middle of the street. We thought this was strange but the locals were unfazed by it. Compared to Jackson Hole, we noticed that the town mainly depends on tourism but not as extreme as Jackson Hole. For example, there is no tax on food in Gardiner. Since the town depends so much on tourism, in the winter time some businesses are not open because tourism is extremely slow. We talked to two of the tour guides when we went zip-lining and they said that employees can sometimes be hard to find and allows cheap housing for seasonal workers. The guides told us that they pay one payment of 150 dollars for the entire summer for a place to live. One theme we noticed was that Gardiner, like Livingston, focuses on outdoor recreation. People walk more than drive and there are multiple recreation businesses such as zip-lining and white water rafting. In comparison to our hometowns, Gardiner has a more relaxed feel with more opportunities for recreation and exploration.

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View of hotel after rainstorm one evening.               View of river and the mountains from hotel room.

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May 18 2016

Posted by under ORC,Places

Livingston, Montana


“May her spirit continue to embrace us, to flow through the waters of the Yellowstone, and be permanently etched in the history of this country.”

On Wednesday, May 18th we spent the day and visiting the town of Livingston, Montana. The population is very small around seven thousand people. We observed many different things of this town. The first thing we noticed when we were walking around was how relaxed the town was. We noticed that it was super quiet and everyone was extremely friendly. Will had two strangers wave and say hi to him while we were walking around. We also noticed that the buildings along Main Street were older style buildings and some businesses were located in residential homes. We noticed that different parts of town were completely different from one another. An example of this is when we were walking through a neighborhood of single family homes and at the end of the road there was a stream.  On the other side of the stream the neighborhood was full of trailer homes.  One place we really enjoyed was a park by the high school called “Sacajawea Park.” The park had a statue of Sacajawea on a horse carrying her baby and we found some information about the statue. We found out that the statue commemorates her for her loyalty toward the success of Lewis and Clark.  One big theme we noticed about how diverse but integrated it was. This is because we noticed a lot of flyers and notes hanging on bulletins around town. We also noticed that the town is big on recreation. We saw lots of big parks, people walking their dogs around, and everywhere we went we saw bikes. When we were walking around the Sacajawea Park we saw a group of about 15 people riding their bikes together. The town also focused a lot on the agricultural. We noticed lots of gardens, big trees and flowers around the small town. Overall, we thought this town was very recreational, relaxed and rural. When comparing this town to Jackson Hole we noticed that both towns  emphasize recreation however, Jackson Hole is made up of tourists where Livingston is strictly a town for families and locals.


One of the many parks found in Livingston, Montana.



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May 16 2016

Posted by under Jackson

Jackson Hole, Montana


On May 16th we explored the town of Jackson, Wyoming! We were very interested in how tourism effected the town of Jackson.  Also, how the locals felt about the town and its over crowding of tourists.

We interviewed two different individuals from the Teton Mountaineers shop and the Ranch Inn. Both of them had the same views on the tourists and the town of Jackson Hole.  They explained to us that the tourists are the blood line for this town, they keep it going and running efficiently even during the months where tourism isn’t as popular. The only negative thing we heard today was that some of the tourists are some what “clueless,” and she explained to us the story of how the the bison calf had to be put down after tourists put the calf in their car because it looked cold.

Both of the individuals we spoke to live here year round and have seen the town grow and become more of a touristy area. The woman at the Mountaineers shop explained to us that living in Jackson hole is like living back in a college because you are always seeing similar faces and everyone is so nice and excited to be here.  After hearing this our group related Jackson Hole to FarmVille and we developed a new interest and appreciation for this town. She also stated that she loved living here because all of the locals have the same appreciation for the outdoors and all of them seem to get along because they have that same understanding for one another.

In addition to interviewing some locals we observed the town and noticed a couple of unique things. We went to the Welcome Center and viewed the different historical information that was provided and the unique structure of the building. The Welcome Center is REED which is an energy efficient building and is powered by solar panels. We thought this was very interesting because this is such an old small historic town but all of the buildings looked very modern and earthy at the same time. It was around 4pm when we started exploring and it was a pretty busy time for all of the businesses and there was quite a bit of traffic. Jackson Hole truly does seem to be thriving.


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May 13 2016

Posted by under Stewardship

Fires in Yellowstone National Park #itslitYNP

Yellowstone Fire Management uses two methods of fire control: Planned fuel treatments and wildfires. Which course of action do you believe is most beneficial to the ecosystem? #itslitYNP

Yellowstone Fires of 1988

How to get involved:

The best way to get involved in this issue is to make people aware of what is going on. Use our hashtag #itslitYNP to get people aware of the situation by posting on social media, such as twitter and Instagram. Also use the information provided below to learn about this ongoing issue in the Yellowstone National Park.

Learn more about Fire Management in Yellowstone: 

When people think of forest fires they often view them in a negative light. However, forest fires are extremely beneficial to the environment. Fires allow for habitat biodiversity by allowing different plant communities to become established, preventing trees from growing in grasslands, and fires also return nutrients to the soil while eliminating any debris that threatens the environment. There are two ways Yellowstone National Park manages fires: planned fuel treatments and wildfires.

Planned fuel Treatments are mechanical fires, meaning that the fire is set off on purpose by a fire manager. There are different techniques of these fires. One technique is Mechanical Thinning which is where park officials will cut down trees and light it on fire. This technique prevents unwanted wildfires from the wildlife community of the park. Another Technique is called Prescribed Fires. This is where a fire is purposely set by a fire managers and carefully managed. These fires will burn more quickly compared to wildfires because the fuels used allow the fire to burn hotter and faster. Another fire treatment used in Yellowstone National Park is wildfires.

Wildfires are natural fires compared to planned fuel treatments. They can be set off by multiple causes including, lightning or dry weather. These fires are managed to fulfill their role in the ecosystem of the park. This means that park officials will only step in if the fire starts to threaten human health or safety. People often debate about which fire technique is best to used in the Yellowstone National park. There are pros and cons to both techniques talked about.

Wildfires can be very beneficial for the ecosystem but they can also be very dangerous. Some pros of using wildfires as a method of fire management is a decrease in diseased insects and pests, increase in the growth of different plant communities, and returns nutrients back to the soil. Diseased insects and pests can easily spread disease throughout the forest but wildfires stop this spread from continuing. Wildfires also return nutrients to the soil while reducing the amount of dead debris that allows for the regrowth of plants, shrubs, and trees especially the fire-dependent lodgepole pine, which is the dominant tree species within Yellowstone’s ecosystem. On the other hand, there are some dangers that come along with just letting a wildfire burn out.  Such as, since this is an uncontrolled fire it may spread to areas that were not intended to be burned such as nearby houses and farms. Wildfires can be extremely dangerous if not controlled in the right manner. Today, only 10% of wildfires are started by lightning strikes, the remainder are caused by humans.

Planned fuel treatments, or controlled burns provide many benefits to forest ecosystems. They help stimulate the germination of certain trees, and can also help thin out forests by clearing the forest floor of debris and underbrush which opens it up to sunlight.  Clearing out the underbrush helps nourish the soil by reducing competition for nutrients allowing established trees to grow healthier and sturdier.  Each year more and more debris, brush and leaf litter is added to the forest floor.  By manually using low intensity flames, clearing out this brush can actually reduce the chances of damaging forest fires that spread out of control.  Although these planned fuel treatments have many benefits, they can also be a very dangerous practice.  No matter how many precautions are taken or how careful you are, whenever a fire is started there is a chance that something will go wrong.  It does not matter how much training you have, when things such as equipment malfunctions or even the wind picking up suddenly can cause a controlled fire to burn out of control.

More Resources:


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May 12 2016

Posted by under about us

Before trip – Introduction

Katlyn: Our pack is focusing on the fire issue in the Yellowstone National Park. I am really looking forward to this trip because I have never been to this part of the United States. What I am most looking forward to on this trip is the wildlife and scenery in the park.

Devan: Hi, my name is Devan Doss and I am apart of the fire pack as well. I am most looking forward to learning about the wildlife and the culture of Yellowstone and also being able to connect with so many other students on this trip!

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Mar 30 2016

Posted by under Uncategorized

Hello world!

Welcome to Longwood Blogs. This is your first post. Edit or delete it, then start blogging!

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