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Our National Parks Series: Yellowstone National Park


Old Faithful

Old Faithful, Photo: Adrian Valenzuela, Flickr

 

Yellowstone National Park brings to mind wolves, bears and Old Faithful, but we’re taking a closer look at its lesser-known parts in the backcountry. Michael Curtis, a backcountry ranger, provides insight into exploring all that the park has to offer:

 

“Yellowstone is unique in being one of the largest undeveloped backcountry areas in the lower 48 states. Along with the surrounding wilderness areas, there is plenty of backcountry to explore for a wide range of skill levels and interests. With wildlife, history, fishing and mountains to climb, there are incredible experiences to be had on both multiday trips and day hikes.”

 

We asked Ranger Curtis for tips on how to prepare for a safe trip exploring Yellowstone National Park’s backcountry.

 

Backcountry Ranger

Yellowstone Ranger Michael Curtis

 

If someone is going into the backcountry, what is your advice for how to best enjoy it?

 

The best way to enjoy Yellowstone’s backcountry is by putting forth the effort ahead of time to prepare for your trip. Learn about grizzly bears, study your maps, get in shape, take a Wilderness First Responder Course and plan for the unexpected.

 

Yellowstone

Yellowstone, Photo: Redio, Flickr

 

Where would you never send someone in the backcountry?

 

I would never point anyone towards a trip that they were not mentally and physically prepared for. Every year our visitors get into trouble trying to bite off more than they can chew. It is important to match your planned trip with your experience and skill level.

 

How should one prepare for such an experience in the backcountry? What must they take into consideration?

 

Getting your feet wet with shorter more manageable trips is a good way to prepare. If you have never backpacked before, starting with a five-day trip is probably not the best way to begin. If you have never traveled in bear country, you might want to start with a few day hikes before leaping into a longer trip. Take into consideration that help might be a long time arriving in some of the more remote areas of the park and cell phones don’t work in most areas.

 

Bears at Yellowstone

Mama grizzly bear and cub, Yellowstone, Photo: xinem, Flickr

 

Where would you never send someone in the backcountry?

 

I would never point anyone towards a trip that they were not mentally and physically prepared for. Every year our visitors get into trouble trying to bite off more than they can chew. It is important to match your planned trip with your experience and skill level.

 

How should one prepare for such an experience in the backcountry? What must they take into consideration?

 

Getting your feet wet with shorter more manageable trips is a good way to prepare. If you have never backpacked before, starting with a five-day trip is probably not the best way to begin. If you have never traveled in bear country, you might want to start with a few day hikes before leaping into a longer trip. Take into consideration that help might be a long time arriving in some of the more remote areas of the park and cell phones don’t work in most areas.

 

Bear Food

Bear Food, Photo: Michael Wifall, Flickr

 

So after reading Michael’s tips, will you venture into the backcountry on your next trip to Yellowstone? As you plan your trip, consider his advice for a safe and rewarding adventure. If you’re lucky, maybe you’ll catch some of the stunning views other backcountry travelers have shared:

 

Yellowstone Sunset

Yellowstone Sunset, Photo: chuckyeager, Flickr

 

 

Wildlife

Infrared Wildlife, Photo: fortherock, Flickr

 

 

Reflection at Yellowstone

Reflection at Yellowstone, Photo: Kashyap Hosdurga, Flickr

 

What’s your favorite spot in Yellowstone National Park?

 

 

 

 




  1. Johnny M. Cox | January 25, 2013 | 7:10 pm

    I am a member of the N.P.C.A, {NATIONAL PARK CONSERVATION ASSOCIATION},We raise money to HELP keep our parks open and running up to stanard. This last republican congress has GUTTED us again. this has been the WORST congress on conservation on record..PLEASE HELP ALL YOU CAN!!! Johnny M. Cox P.S. LOVE your clothes,just bought a new coat, boots,and gloves .I was going to buy some things during your100th ann.sale,which I was more interested in your 100th anniversary.But with helping the National Parks,the Humane Society,etc. along with STORM that HIT New Jersey, New York, and the upper east coast. So if you can help me with 100th anniversary items ,I would greatly appreciate it!

    b


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