Photo by RRuntsch/Shutterstock.

Science report guides protection of Old Faithful thermal features and historic Yellowstone buildings

(Yellowstone National Park) — A newly published scientific report on the geology and hydrology in the area around Old Faithful in Yellowstone National Park includes suggestions on how to avoid harming the unique hydrothermal (hot water) features during maintenance of nearby park roads, utilities, and historic buildings.
Since 1872, park administrators have grappled with the delicate balance of preserving natural features while maximizing the ability of the public to enjoy and explore this natural wonderland. Over the past 50 years, visitation to YNP and Old Faithful has almost doubled, resulting in growing needs for parking, lodging, food service, and other essentials. Park administration must frequently consider the tradeoffs involved with simultaneously providing for public enjoyment of the area, maintaining cultural resources, and minimizing impacts to hydrothermal resources in an ever-changing landscape as hydrothermal features continuously migrate.
A panel of leading experts (The Old Faithful Science Review Panel) was convened by Yellowstone National Park to review and summarize the geological and hydrological understanding that can inform park management of the Upper Geyser Basin area. The report, written by U.S. Geological Survey and park geologists, working with university, and private-sector scientists, includes a discussion of the local rock types, and water chemistry, and the behavior of geysers and other features within the hydrothermal system. The panel of scientists also reviewed the effects of infrastructure (utilities, roads, buildings) on thermal features and vice versa.
“Infrastructure and thermal ground don’t easily coexist. Hot ground isn’t good for buildings, roads and pipelines; conversely, parking lots and sewer lines disrupt the natural hydrology,” explained USGS Geologist and Science Review Panel Co-Chair Jacob Lowenstern. “The popularity of Yellowstone is only increasing with time, so the park needs to consider means to minimize the human impact on both its cultural and natural resources,”
The report identifies knowledge gaps and suggests topics for further research. It includes a variety of techniques that can assist park managers as they evaluate options for future management of the Old Faithful area. It also includes suggestions on how to avoid harm to changing and sometimes migrating thermal features during maintenance of critical infrastructure such as the nearby lodging, including the historic Old Faithful Inn.
“This report, based on the symposium held last June and the deliberative work of the panel, serves as a starting point for management of the most intensively visited location within Yellowstone National Park,” said Dan Wenk, Yellowstone National Park Superintendent. “There may be no place on earth that presents the challenges where such iconic natural and cultural features are within such a short distance of each other.”
The full report of the Old Faithful Science Review Panel, “Hydrogeology of the Old Faithful Area, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, and its Relevance to Natural Resources and Infrastructure,” U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2014-1058, is available online.
–Provided by the National Park Service
Students from Gannett Peak Elementary School in Lander spent Friday morning re-seeding a portion of the burned area from last summer's Fairfield Fire in Sinks Canyon. (Popo Agie Conservation District photo)

Gannett Peak 3rd graders help re-seed Sinks Canyon

(Lander, Wyo.) – Friday morning twenty-nine enthusiastic 3rd grade students from Gannett Peak Elementary School joined Sinks Canyon State Park personnel to plant native grass seed on a half acre of the Fairfield Hill burn in Sinks Canyon. The students came from Mrs. Nielson and Mrs. Tafelmeyer’s classes. The fire occurred in 2013. Hats off to the students from Gannett Peak for their help in revegetating our State Park!

A past show at the Lander Art Center. File photo.

Lander Art Center to celebrate 10 years tomorrow

(Lander, Wyo.) – Illuminate the Arts; Celebrating 10 years of the Lander Art Center will be a night of remembrance and celebration Saturday, April 12 at the Inn at Lander from 7-11pm. This event will honor the past and look to the future of the arts in our community. The Lander Art Center was formed more than 10 years ago with a $10,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Rural Communities project. Since then the LAC has grown to the preeminent art center in Fremont County devoted to offering year round art exhibitions and arts education open to all.

Installation of a 52,000 pound storm sewer manhole is schedule for the coming week on the South Federal-East Monroe highway project in Riverton. (WYDOT)

Work update issued for Federal-Monroe improvement project

(Riverton, Wyo.) – In Friday’s weekly update on the South Federal/East Monroe improvement project, the Wyoming Department of Transportation reminded residents that all businesses are open along Federal Boulevard, and accesses to businesses are being maintained. Weekly working meetings are at 2 p.m. every Thursday at El Durango, and business owners and citizens are invited to attend.
Federal Boulevard motorists are also reminded of the 10-foot width restriction on all vehicles, and drivers are also encouraged to slow down through the work zone for the safety of everyone.
Excavation efforts are improving this week and should make their way to Washington and the north end of the project in the coming week. Sanitary sewer is currently being installed near South Federal Inn, with fresh water line installation following near Big O Tires and Expressway Lube on Federal. Work on installation of an irrigation siphon near El Durango is planned. Storm sewer installation is beginning near Fremont Glass on Federal. Installation of a 52,000-pound storm sewer manhole is scheduled for the coming week. Storm sewer water from Federal Boulevard will be piped via a 48-inch pipe to just north of Fremont Glass, where it will be piped and flow into the Big Bend Ditch. Storm sewer installation is estimated to take about three weeks.
To stay updated on the project, click and like this link.
–Wyoming Department of Transportation. Images used with permission.
Installation of a 48-inch pipe for a storm sewer line  is estimated to take three weeks. (WYDOT)

Installation of a 48-inch pipe for a storm sewer line is estimated to take three weeks. (WYDOT)

National Weather Service Meteorologist Brett McDonald conducted a weather spotter training inside the Riverton Branch Library's Community Room for some 15 Fremont County Residents earlier this year. (Ernie Over photo)

Local Weather Service office trained storm spotters Thursday

(Riverton, Wyo.) – Just over a dozen Fremont County residents turned out Thursday night to be trained as Storm Spotters for the National Weather Service office in Riverton. Meteorologist Brett McDonald led the training in the Community Room of the Riverton Branch Library. During the two-hour session, McDonald covered safety tips for spotters, and provided information on how to identify what weather conditions would be considered severe. He also discussed and showed examples of “look-alike” weather features that could be mistaken for severe weather. McDonald provided definitions for various types of weather conditions and gave an overview of National Weather Service operations.