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Yellowstone's Winter Wildlife and Wolves

Program Number: 14338RJ
Start and End Dates:
1/26/2014 - 1/31/2014;
Duration: 5 nights
Location: Gardiner, Montana
Price starting at: $899.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Science & Nature; National Parks
Meals: 15; 5 Breakfasts, 1 Brunch, 4 Lunches, 5 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian    

Three predawn departures into Yellowstone guarantee arrival at the park’s legendary northern range by dawn for optimum wildlife viewing. Watch for elk, wolves, bison, waterfowl, eagles, coyotes, bighorn sheep, mountain fox and other inhabitants of the region, and consider bison issues, winter adaptations, predator/prey dynamics, declining elk and coyote numbers, rebounding willow and aspen stands and more. Trace the evolution of the park’s wolf management philosophy from predator extermination to wolf reintroduction and natural regulation.




Highlights

• Hear up-to-date information from a naturalist about Yellowstone's wildlife populations, habitat requirements, winter coping strategies and management philosophy.
• Set out for Yellowstone's northern range before dawn to take advantage of primetime wildlife viewing opportunities.
• An afternoon at the Mammoth Hot Springs area begins with lunch at the historic hotel, a snowshoe exploration of the Upper Terraces and a visit to the Albright Museum.



Activity Particulars

Walk up to six blocks to some meals; transportation available. Daytime temperatures range from below zero to the mid 30s. Weather changes quickly.



Elevation 5,260 to 7,500 feet.



Coordinated by University of Montana Western.




Gardiner

Founded in 1880, this town in Paradise Valley is the original northern entrance to Yellowstone Park and today is the park’s only year-round point of entry. Gardiner has the atmosphere of a quaint Western town, complete with elk meandering the streets.



Accommodations
Motel, one flight of stairs to some rooms.
Meals and Lodgings
   Best Western by Mammoth Hot Springs
  Gardiner, MT 5 nights
 Best Western by Mammoth Hot Springs
Type: Hotel
  Description: Conveniently located less than one mile north of Yellowstone National Park, with a spectacular view of surrounding mountains and the Yellowstone River. Remember, you are experiencing the atmosphere of a small, rural community and meal options are naturally limited. Meals served at local restaurants; sack lunches in the field. Please be aware that not all dietary requirements or restrictions can be accommodated at this site. You may wish to bring supplementary items. Questions? Call UM-Western Road Scholar (406) 683-7302.
  Contact info: 905 Scott Street
Gardiner, MT 59030 USA
phone: 406-848-7311
web: www.bestwesternmontana.com/hotels/best-western-mammoth-hot-springs/
  Room amenities: In-room coffee, hairdryer, data port, iron and ironing board.
  Facility amenities: Indoor heated pool, whirlpool, two saunas, restaurant, lounge, casino, gift shop, free high-speed internet access, guest laundry.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Additional nights prior: Varies. Seasonal rates; call (406) 848-7311 for information.
  Check in time: 4:00 PM
  Additional nights after: Varies. Seasonal rates; call (406) 848-7311 for information.
  Check out time: 11:00 AM


Travel Details
  Start of Program:
4-5 pm for registration at hotel. You will be staying at Best Western by Mammoth Hot Springs that night.
  End of Program:
Program ends after 11:00 am. grab and go brunch. Airport shuttle departs at 11:30 am. You will be staying at Best Western by Mammoth Hot Springs the night before.
  Required documents:
The Road Scholar Health & Safety Form is required. Please bring a Golden Age, Senior or National Parks pass if you have one.
  Parking availability:
Free.
Transportation
To Start of Program
  Location:  Gardiner, MT
  Nearest city or town:  Livingston, MT is 53 miles north.
  Nearest highway: State HWY 89.
  Nearest airport:  Gallatin Field in Bozeman, MT, 89 miles
  From End of Program
  Location: Gardiner, MT
    (Additional transportation information same as above)
Travel Details
 

Bozeman, MT

 

From Airport

 
 

Service:

 

Commercial Van/Shuttle
Greater Valley Taxi
phone: 406-388-7938
Advanced Reservations Required

 

Per Person/One Way:

 

Group rate is approximately $81.00 per person each way; call for current group rate.
Prices are subject to change.

 

Travel Time:

 

Two hours. 

 

Distance:

 

79 miles.

   

Reservations must be arranged at least three days in advance; call (406) 388-7938. Group shuttle departs airport at 2:00 pm. Meet Greater Valley at the large bear statue near the luggage carousel inside the airport, between 1:30 and 2:00 pm. In order to take advantage of the group shuttle, you must arrive by 1:30 pm on Sunday and depart no earlier than 3:00 pm on Friday. Arriving in Bozeman a day early or staying an extra day may be more economical than booking individual transportation.

 

Bozeman, MT

 

To Airport

 
 

Service:

 

Commercial Van/Shuttle
Greater Valley Taxi
phone: 406-388-7938
Advanced Reservations Required

 

Per Person/One Way:

 

Group rate is approximately $81.00 per person each way; call for current rate.
Prices are subject to change.

 

Travel Time:

 

Two hours. 

 

Distance:

 

79 miles.

   

Reservations must be made at least three days in advance; call (406) 388-7938; you may be asked to leave a message. Group shuttle departs site at 11:30 am. Outside of the above scheduled times, individual transportation (not at group rate) can be reserved through Greater Valley Taxi 406-388-7938 or Karst Stage 406-556-3540 (72 hours notice required). Car rental and drop-off are available at the Bozeman airport; drop-off is not available in Gardiner.

 
Driving Directions
  Billings, MT Travel west 116 miles on I-90 to Livingston. Exit on to US HWY 89; travel south 53 miles to Gardiner; proceed into town; Best Western by Mammoth Hot Springs is on right side of street.
  Bozeman, MT Drive east 26 miles on I-90 to Livingston. Exit on to US HWY 89; travel south 53 miles to Gardiner; proceed into town; Best Western by Mammoth Hot Springs is on right side of street.
  Livingston, MT Travel south 53 miles on US HWY 89 to Gardiner; proceed into town; Best Western by Mammoth Hot Springs is on right side of street.
Elevation Note: Site is 5,260'. Field trip to 7,500'.

Equipment Requirements: "Yak-Trax", "Get-a-Grip" or "STABILicers" over-shoe traction device-ice cleats for sure footing in icy conditions (can purchase online for approx $17). Snowshoes provided
The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.


Daily Schedule

Day 1: Welcome dinner, introductions and a look at the week ahead.
(Sunday, January 26)
   
 Afternoon: Check-in between 4 and 5 pm.
 Dinner: Welcome dinner at adjoining restaurant.
 Evening: Orientation, introductions and a preview of the adventure.
   
Accommodations: Best Western by Mammoth Hot Springs
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: Introduction to the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem and Predator/prey Dynamics.
(Monday, January 27)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at adjoining restaurant.
 Morning: Morning presentations: Ecosystems defined; includes political area and boundaries. Herbivores of Yellowstone.
 Lunch: Lunch at nearby restaurant.
 Afternoon: Afternoon presentation introduces carnivores of Yellowstone. Free time.
 Dinner: Dinner at nearby restaurant.
 Evening: Film by Emmy award winning wildlife cinematographer and wolf expert
   
Accommodations: Best Western by Mammoth Hot Springs
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Morning field trip to Yellowstone's northern range for wildlife habitat and viewing, natural history presentations.
(Tuesday, January 28)
   
 Breakfast: Early morning departure with boxed breakfast in the field.
 Morning: Dawn provides the best opportunity for wildlife observation. Arrive in Lamar at first light; while en route, interpretation will focus on natural history of area wildlife and of Yellowstone National Park. Bring binoculars to use at viewing areas. Possible wildlife observations include bison, elk, waterfowl, coyotes, wolves, bald and golden eagles, bighorn sheep, mountain fox, pronghorn, otter. Mid January to mid February is wolf breeding season. Mating season is a prime time to observe wolves. Sighting possibilities MAY INCLUDE interaction between male and female wolves and predator/prey interaction.
 Lunch: Lunch at nearby restaurant.
 Afternoon: Enjoy an early afternoon visit to the Yellowstone National Park Heritage and Research Center which houses the Yellowstone Archive, a 5.3 million-item collection, the only national park collection affiliated with the National Archives. Under one roof are contained the sumptuous gatherings of 130 years of Yellowstone's history. Participants will have the opportunity to view historic wolf and wildlife photos and collections. Afternoon presentation is "Wolf Reintroduction: History, Packs, & Dynamics".
 Dinner: Dinner at nearby restaurant.
 Evening: Film by Emmy award winning wildlife cinematographer and wolf expert
   
Accommodations: Best Western by Mammoth Hot Springs
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Morning field trip to Yellowstone's northern range and exploration at the historic Mammoth Hot Springs area.
(Wednesday, January 29)
   
 Breakfast: Early morning departure with boxed breakfast in the field.
 Morning: Dawn provides the best opportunity for wildlife observation. Arrive in Lamar at first light; while enroute, interpretation will focus on natural history of area wildlife and of Yellowstone National Park. Bring binoculars to use at viewing areas. Possible wildlife observations include bison, elk, waterfowl, coyotes, wolves, bald and golden eagles, bighorn sheep, mountain fox, pronghorn, otter. Mid January to mid February is wolf breeding season. Mating season is a prime time to observe wolves. Sighting possibilities MAY INCLUDE interaction between male and female wolves and predator/prey interaction.
 Lunch: Lunch in Yellowstone at Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel
 Afternoon: Snowshoe walk on the Upper Terraces with naturalist/photographer for interpretation; expect breathtaking vistas and learn to read the snow - identify tracks, scat and other signs. Bring your camera. Visit the Albright Visitor Center and Museum, built by the US cavalry during "Fort Yellowstone" times, includes history-themed exhibits-Native Americans, mountain men, early exploration, Army days and early National Park Service. Also included: predator-prey themed exhibit, Moran Gallery (reproductions of Thomas Moran watercolors), Jackson Gallery (original William Henry Jackson photographs and 1871 Hayden Survey photographs), theater, information desk and Yellowstone Association sales area (good selection of Yellowstone-related books, also prints, notecards, games, films, photographs, maps, etc.)
 Dinner: Dinner at nearby restaurant.
 Evening: Film by Emmy award winning wildlife cinematographer and wolf expert
   
Accommodations: Best Western by Mammoth Hot Springs
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Morning field trip to Yellowstone's northern range; afternoon in historic Cooke City.
(Thursday, January 30)
   
 Breakfast: Early morning departure with boxed breakfast in the field.
 Morning: Dawn provides the best opportunity for wildlife observation. Arrive in Lamar at first light; while en route, interpretation will focus on natural history of area wildlife and of Yellowstone National Park. Bring binoculars to use at viewing areas. Possible wildlife observations include bison, elk, waterfowl, coyotes, wolves, bald and golden eagles, bighorn sheep, mountain fox, pronghorn, otter. Mid January to mid February is wolf breeding season. Mating season is a prime time to observe wolves. Sighting possibilities MAY INCLUDE interaction between male and female wolves and predator/prey interaction.
 Lunch: Sack lunches in the field
 Afternoon: Travels offers additional opportunity for wildlife and habitat viewing. The road from Gardiner, Montana (Yellowstone's NW entrance) to Cooke City, Montana, (Yellowstone's NE entrance which is closed in winter) is 52 miles and is the only road open to wheeled vehicles during the winter. Until 1882, the town and the land around it were within the Crow Reservation. Following numerous skirmishes between the Crow and gold miners the reservation boundary was moved east. Prospectors often accompanied soldiers through Indian lands looking for gold. Gold was found nearby in the early 1870's and the area became known as the New World Mining district. The town was called Shoo-fly until 1880 when it became known as Cooke City, named after a mining investor named Jay Cooke Jr. Cooke promised to use his considerable influence to bring the railroad through the top of Yellowstone Park from Gardiner. This single move would have made the mining much more profitable in the Cooke area. Congress soon put an end to the possibility; Cooke ran into financial difficulty and lost his bonded mining claims. Back in Gardiner for free time. Later afternoon presentation is Wolf Reintroduction and its impact in Yellowstone and surrounding area.
 Dinner: Dinner at adjoining restaurant.
 Evening: Evening presentation by Bob Landis, Emmy award winning wildlife cinematographer and wolf expert
   
Accommodations: Best Western by Mammoth Hot Springs
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Wolves: Past & Future - a wrap-up...and brunch: a farewell.
(Friday, January 31)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at nearby restaurant.
 Morning: Morning presentation and discussion considers wolf 'management' in the Greater Yellowstone Area: Present and Future. Wrap-up; Q and A Group photo; bring your camera.
 Brunch: 11:00 am brunch at adjoining restaurant. Shuttle departs at 11:30.
   
Meals Included: Breakfast, Brunch

Free Time Opportunities
 
  Gardiner, MT Guided tours
Guided van tours into Yellowstone Park. For additional information, visit www.yellowstoneyearround.com
  Hiking
Trailhead 1/2 mile from lodgings.
  Horseback Riding
Summer season trailrides provided by Rendezvous Outfitters in Gardiner, MT (406) 848-7967.
  Rafting
Summer season scenic float or whitewater rafting on Yellowstone River. For additional information, visit www.yellowstoneraft.com
  Yellowstone Association
Founded in 1933 to assist with educational, historical and scientific programs that would benefit Yellowstone National Park and its visitors. Operates book sale outlets in park visitor centers which supports expanded naturalist training and programs, finances publication of trail guides, books and pamphlets about the Park, helps with funding for museum exhibits and research equipment. The Yellowstone Association Institute sponsors outdoor courses for all age groups, some of which are especially designed for women, families and children. The Institute's purpose is to explore, understand and appreciate Yellowstone. For additional information, visit www.yellowstoneassociation.org
  Yellowstone National Park information
For a closer look at Yellowstone and to find out what's available in the Park- horseback riding, ranger-led activities, wildlife excursions and any other park activities. Xanterra Parks and Resorts is Yellowstone's principal concessioner and includes operations of park's lodging facilities, some campgrounds, restaurants, gift shops, interpretive tours, etc. During winter season rent cross-country skis or snowshoes at Ski Shops in Mammoth or at Old Faithful. For additional information, visit www.TravelYellowstone.com
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List


Wolfer, A Memoir


Author: Carter Niemeyer


Description: From university trained wildlife biologist to government trapper to wolf advocate, here is a man who played a key role and experienced the recovery of the grey wolf in the west.....as seen from the trenches. Here's a balanced, authentic work that tells it like it is, from all points of view.



Decade of the Wolf, revised and updated edition: Returning the Wild to Yellowstone


Author: Douglas W. Smith and Gary Ferguson


Description: Research and storytelling meld to document wolf recovery in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. Wolf biologist, Smith, and nature writer, Ferguson, provide an inside look at the Yellowstone Wolf Recovery Project ten years after the controversial decision was made by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services to reintroduce wolves into the park. Smith, wolf project leader who has worked with the Yellowstone Wolf Project since its inception, has studied wolves for 25 years. Ferguson, whose writing largely arises from intimate experiences, followed through the seasons, the first 14 wolves released into Yellowstone National Park. Their collaboration offers hard facts and 'impressionistic portraits of individual wolves that reveal their epic lives full of struggle and conquest.' Here is the history of the return of the top predator to Yellowstone.



To Save the Wild Bison: Life on the Edge in Yellowstone


Author: Mary Ann Franke


Description: The author brings clarity and revelation to one of Yellowstone's most complex struggles by tracing the history of bison and humans into the 19th century and further into the national parks era. Here's discussion of bison management and park policy - the battle over brucellosis, snowmobiles and groomed winter roads, desires of Native Americans, bison and predators.



Yellowstone's Ski Pioneers: Peril and Heroism on the Winter Trail


Author: Paul Schullery


Description: The book chronicles historic army winter ski patrols, wildlife stories and other ski adventures as protagonists tell their own stories. The author interprets the social climate and attitudes of the times to present Yellowstone in the 1870s and 80s when the nearest town was several days travel away and summer tourists were rare. Poachers were the area's primary winter visitors during an era when wildlife destruction was occurring throughout the American West. The book places the role of present-day park management in perspective. It interprets our history and explains how and why park policies have evolved and provides insight into wildlife conservation and policy and winter travel in Yellowstone.



Yellowstone Wolves in the Wild


Author: James Halfpenny


Description: Color photographs of wolves in the wild meld with current studies, biology, reintroduction, history of packs, behavior, impacts on the ecosystem, eye-witness reports from scientists and wolf watchers. Here is the HOW and WHY of returning this key predator to Yellowstone. appendices detail the histories and social status of original packs and pack members, maps and more.



Restoring a Presence: American Indians and Yellowstone National Park


Author: Peter Nabokov and Lawrence Loendorf


Description: This first comprehensive account of Indians in and around Yellowstone corrects more than a century of ignorance. Detailed here is Yellowstone's native peoples and their story of a long engagement with a remarkable landscape.



After the Fires: The Ecology of Change in Yellowstone National Park


Author: Linda Wallace, Editor


Description: The ravaging fires of 1988 caused many scientists to predict long-term devastation which did not come to pass. This scientific summary by wildlife biologists, ecosystem and forest scientists and landscape ecologists discusses the many things that changed and did not change in the Yellowstone area. Realize the role of fire in the ecosystem and the resiliency of nature.



Roadside Geology of Yellowstone Country


Author: William Fritz & Robert Thomas


Description: Updated, classic roadside geology book for the Yellowstone Region explains current geological theories.



Searching for Yellowstone: Ecology and Wonder in the Last Wilderness


Author: Paul Schullery


Description: Eloquent, elegant, truthful and practical - an environmental history of America's best idea, Yellowstone.





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