Yellowstone Road Crews Struggle with Late Season Snow Storms

News release from Yellowstone Park. Yellowstone Road Crews Struggle with Late Season Snow Storms.

Doug Smith told me today that he had never seen so much water in the Park’s backcountry. The Yellowstone Delta’s den site, which is in the River delta, is basically a swim-to den, and would be flooded with any more rise of the Yellowstone River.




  1. Robert Hoskins Avatar
    Robert Hoskins

    Aside from the potential risks to the den site, this simply confirms how inundated the Park is, which severely affects both bison and elk–there simply hasn’t been sufficient green up to feed what bison and ellk are left. During my travels through the Park over the last month to count bison, I also saw few elk and not a single calf, while normally this time of year I see hundreds upon hundreds of elk with calves. This has been a devastating winter.

  2. JB Avatar

    Based on what others are saying about the Park’s bison and elk, I suspect this may be the last growth year for YNP wolves.

  3. Ralph Maughan Avatar


    Yes indeed, and it will be interesting how Wyoming does on making sure the state has a minimum of 15 wolf packs.

  4. vicki Avatar

    The snow levels are having effects here in Colorado.
    I was up north last weekend and the mosse I saw, even those with calves, were still sporting thick winter coats.
    The elk would normally be higher right now, but they are low, looking for open vegatation, and hanging out at road sides where melting is more prevalent due to good old de-icing agents. The bighorns, who normally are very high right now due to lambing, are licking up the roads too. There is still huge amounts of snow pack, and the run off has already began flooding some areas.
    This has got to effect the grazing of so many animals, in YNP and beyond. They have to be headed lower in YNP too.
    I know when I was there, I saw more elk in the lower elevations of Teton Nat’l Park than I have seen in the last ten years, and far fewer in YNP than usual too.
    I fear wolves will follow along, and bison will be driven out of the park earlier this year.
    Even in areas where there was a lot of green, the bison were so emmaciated that they were still showing ribs. SOme looked too exhausted to eat. We saw atleast two that were not entirley boney, and they had just appearantly fallen over and died. That could come from a number of things, but my guess would be weakened cardiac health from months of starvation….access to winter range easily reached outside the YNP borders would have been key to preventing what may become a snowball effect of depleated park populations of animals across the board.

  5. Peter Kiermeier Avatar

    What do you think? Isn´t this winter, that was – or still is – so desastrous to wildlife what should be considered a “normal” winter for the region? Something that has however not occured for a decade or even longer. Or was it exceptionally strong and long?

  6. Peter Kiermeier Avatar

    I´m watching the NOAA Wx Service occasionally cause one of our daughters is in the USA at the moment. Amazing ! There´s another winter storm forcasted for Wyoming with more snow!

  7. JB Avatar


    The timing of state management is very frustrating. I would’ve “liked” to have seen a natural reduction in the wolf population untainted by state management; then we could have finally put this whole “wolves will eat us out of house and home if we don’t control them” myth to bed. As it is, if wolf populations are now reduced because of lower food availability the “hunters” and state management will claim it was their doing. I can just here them: “Thank God we stepped in when we did…just in the nick of time!”

  8. dbaileyhill Avatar

    The Cascades are receiving large amounts of snow. The ski resorts “winter” ski season is still going, and going.
    Even along the Columbia where i live it is cold and rainy.


Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan’s Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of “Hiking Idaho.” He also wrote “Beyond the Tetons” and “Backpacking Wyoming’s Teton and Washakie Wilderness.” He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.

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Ralph Maughan