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Yellowstone Science A quarterly publication devoted to the natural and cultural resources Volume 10 Number 4 1960s Winter Atmospheric Research The Murie Legacy Is There Life in Well Y-7? Bear on Bear Predation

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Yellowstone ScienceA quarterly publication devoted to the natural and cultural resources

Volume 10 Number 4

1960s Winter Atmospheric ResearchThe Murie Legacy

Is There Life in Well Y-7?Bear on Bear Predation

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In the 25 years I’ve lived andworked in Yellowstone, one ofmy fondest memories is a trip I took

many years ago from Yellowstone Lake toMoose, Wyoming. The occasion was after-noon tea with Mardy Murie. A few otheryoung seasonal naturalists and I had theopportunity to meet this extraordinarywoman, who in partnership with her hus-band, Olaus, has done great things in herlifetime for the cause of wilderness preser-vation. At the time, I remember wonderinghow many scores, if not hundreds, of per-fect strangers had made their way to herdoorstep. For a moment on the drive south,I wondered how she tolerated it all. Whenwe arrived, I found that the answer wassimple—with hot tea served in china cupsfrom a silver service accompanied byfreshly baked cookies.

Never before had I met a person moregrounded to the earth, nor nobler in hergenerosity. She did not carry herself likethe “mother of wilderness” or the “grand-mother of American conservation,” regal-ing us with tales of her adventures withOlaus in the Arctic or of their efforts, inthis very cabin, to create the WildernessAct. In fact, we were hard-pressed to gether to speak of these accomplishments.Instead, we found a gracious host––awoman who lived simply and who heldforth not about herself, but who seemedmore interested in us. I remember that sheasked more questions than she answered.She made us feel like we were the onlyones who had ever thought to come to herdoor.

As the pages of this Yellowstone Sci-ence began to take shape, a commonthread emerged, weaving its way fromstory to story: that of legacy. Yellowstone,itself, is a legacy. It is, if all goes well, aphysical place preserved forever. It is alsoa testament of the importance of wildnessto a people, and to their will to protect itfor future generations. Yellowstone, theplace and the idea, has brought many peo-ple to this corner of Wyoming, Idaho, andMontana. Some never left; others comeback year after year. Vincent Schaeferfound a winter home here for over adecade thirty years ago. In the first of atwo part series, Dr. Thomas Brock chron-icles Schaefer’s pioneering atmosphericresearch and the legacy of his YellowstoneWinter Research Expeditions.

In this issue, we pay tribute to threefriends of Yellowstone who we’ve recent-ly lost––Jay Anderson, J. David Love, andBoyd Evison. We remember the dedica-tion each of them brought to their workand what they leave us: Jay Anderson’spassion for the Greater YellowstoneEcosystem and equal love for sharing thatknowledge with his students; Dave Love’sinterpretation of the Teton landscape andmentoring of this generation of geologists;and the NPS’s Boyd Evison, who recog-nized the importance of science through-out his NPS career, and long championedits use in managing national parks. Theirpassing calls us to remember that research,too creates a legacy. It lays a foundation of

knowledge on which those in the futuremay build; somehow, I’m certain that Vin-cent Schaefer would be pleased to knowthat he shares these pages with John Spearet al., as they carry on the tradition ofinvestigation in a most unusual search forlife “beneath” Yellowstone.

Reflecting on the lives and work ofthese people, the question arises, “Whatlegacy will we leave?” As we mark MardyMurie’s 100th birthday, my thoughts aredrawn back, as they often are, to that after-noon at the Murie Ranch. I now under-stand why she tolerated, even welcomed,so many intrusions into her life and herliving room. She made us feel like fellowtravelers, worthy colleagues who shared acommon vision to preserve and protect thelast best places. While her voice no longerspeaks out in the name of wilderness as itonce did, she has nurtured generationsafter her to do the same, just as she carriedon for Olaus when he was no longer able.As much as anything, this is the Murielegacy, alive and well––cookies, tea, andhope. I smile when I think of Mardy whoin 1998, journeyed to Washington, D.C. tobe honored with the Presidential Medal ofFreedom. As President Clinton leaned overher wheelchair to place the medal aroundher neck, this conservation matriarch inher late-nineties, never quitting, nevermissing an opportunity, whispered to thepresident, “We still have work to do.”


The wonder of the world,the beauty and the power,

the shapes of things,their colours, lights,

and shades; these I saw.Look ye also while life lasts.

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EditorRoger J. Anderson

[email protected]

Assistant Editor and DesignAlice K. Wondrak

Assistant EditorsTami Blackford

Mary Ann Franke

PrintingArtcraft, Inc.

Bozeman, Montana

Yellowstone ScienceA quarterly publication devoted to the natural and cultural resources


The Yellowstone Field Research Expeditions 2In the 1960s, an interdisciplinary group of scientists braved Yellowstone’s winters to conduct pioneering studies in atmospheric science and biology. Thomas Brock participated.

by Thomas D. Brock

The Murie Legacy 13On the occasion of Mardy Murie’s 100th birthday, Paul Schullery looks back at the environmental legacy of Mardy, Olaus, Adolph, and Louise Murie.

by Paul Schullery

A Search for Life in Well Y-7 15In the 1960s, the USGS dug thirteen exploratory wells in Yellowstone’s thermal areas. Four microbiologists wondered if there might be something alive down there today.

by John R. Spear, Jeffrey J. Walker, Susan M. Barns, and Norman R. Pace

Bear on Bear Predation in Hayden Valley 22Two biologists chronicle the results of an unusual meeting.

by Kerry A. Gunther and Mark J. Biel

Passages 25Greater Yellowstone has recently lost three great conservationists. Tributes to JayAnderson, Dave Love, and Boyd Evison.

News & Notes 28Experimental animal detection system • Alaska quake seems to trigger Yellow-stone jolts • 2003 GWS conference • Wondrak wins MHS award • Yellowstone film earns high honors for locals • FSEIS released to Cooperators

Volume 10 Number 4 Fall 2002

Cover photo: Ice crystal cloud produced bythrowing hot water into air with a tempera-ture of -45°F. Above: Photomicrograph taken from areplica snow crystal prepared by the 1962 Yellowstone Field Research Expedition.Both photos are from the YellowstoneNational Park archives, courtesy VincentSchaefer.Left: Christmas at the Murie Ranch inMoose, Wyoming.Accompanying quote: Denys JamesWatkins-Pitchford, as carved by Olaus

Yellowstone Science is published quarterly. Submissions are welcome from all investigators conducting formal research in the Yellowstone area. To submit proposals for articles, to subscribe

to Yellowstone Science, or to send a letter to the editor, please write to the following address:Editor, Yellowstone Science, P.O. Box 168, Yellowstone National Park, WY 82190.

You may also email: [email protected] for Yellowstone Science is provided by the Yellowstone Association, a

non-profit educational organization dedicated to serving the park and its visitors.For more information about the association, including membership,

or to donate to the production of Yellowstone Science, write to:Yellowstone Association, P.O. Box 117, Yellowstone National Park, WY 82190.

The opinions expressed in Yellowstone Science are the authors’ and may notreflect either National Park Service policy or the views of the Yellowstone Center for Resources.Copyright © 2002, the Yellowstone Association for Natural Science, History & Education.

Yellowstone Science is printed on recycled paper with a linseed oil-based ink.

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During the 1960s, an extensive andpioneering series of field research expedi-tions was carried out in the Old Faithfularea of Yellowstone National Park. Theseexpeditions, under the leadership ofatmospheric scientist Vincent J. Schaefer,brought into the park a wide variety of sci-entists interested in doing winter research.Although initially focused on ice crystalformation, cloud seeding, and related phe-nomena of atmospheric science, the expe-ditions soon broadened out into otherareas, including biology, atmosphericchemistry, and geothermal phenomena.The expeditions provided an unparalleledopportunity for scientists to carry out

research in a cold, clean, wilderness envi-ronment under nearly ideal conditions.Financial support for the whole operationwas supported by National Science Foun-dation grants.

The Yellowstone Field Research Expe-ditions operated for 11 years, from 1961through 1971, and brought hundreds ofscientists to the park during winter. In thelater years, the Old Faithful area becameno longer suitable for this sort of research.Air pollution from snowmobiles became aserious factor, and the buildings used forthe project had to be torn down to makeway for the major road realignment andexpansion that occurred in the early 1970s.

The operation was moved to Norris GeyserBasin, where the last expedition was heldin January and February of 1971.

I was privileged to participate in theYellowstone Field Research Expeditionsfor two winters. It was my first opportuni-ty to study microbial mats during the win-ter, and it also enabled me to study hotsprings in the Old Faithful area that werenot available in the regular season becausethey were so public. During my two win-ters, I was also able to observe the atmos-pheric scientists at work, and to appreciatethe reasons why they were attracted to Yel-lowstone National Park and the Old Faith-ful area in particular.

The Yellowstone Field Research ExpeditionsWinter Research in the Interior, Part I

by Thomas D. Brock

Using a fist-sized chunk ofdry ice fragments fastenedto the end of a wire andswung in a circle overhead,a member of the 1962 Yel-lowstone Field ResearchExpedition (YFRE) seeds asupercooled cloud upwindof Old Faithful Geyser andalong the road in front ofthe Old Faithful Inn.
















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Most people today are not aware of thepioneering work that Vincent J. Schaeferand his associates carried out in Yellow-stone’s winter. The research was extensive,innovative, and of broad scale. Much of itwas published by the various scientists intheir own scientific journals. The resultsof this winter research are summarized inSchaefer’s 12 annual reports, which canbe found in the vertical files of Yellow-stone’s library, under the heading “Climateand Weather.”

Vincent J. Schaefer

The Yellowstone Field Research Expe-ditions were conceived and directed byVincent J. Schaefer(1906–1993), of theAtmospheric SciencesResearch Center of theState University of NewYork at Albany. Schaefer’scareer as a scientist wasunusual. Although heeventually received hon-orary doctorate degreesfrom two universities, hehad no real university edu-cation and, in fact, nevercompleted high school.

Vincent J. Schaeferwas born and raised in theSchenectady area of NewYork. Because his familywas in financial difficul-ties, he was forced tobegin work at an early age.He joined an apprenticemachinist program at theGeneral Electric Compa-ny, the major employer inSchenectady. Schaefereventually became established in themachine shop of the research laboratoryat General Electric, where he built equip-ment for scientists and engineers. Amongthe scientists for whom Schaefer builtequipment was physicist Irving Langmuir(1881–1957), who won the Nobel Prize in1932 for his research on surface chemistry.(The Langmuir absorption isothermremains a widely used expression in phys-ical chemistry.)

In 1932 Vincent J. Schaefer became thepersonal assistant of Irving Langmuir andfrom then on the two worked closely

together for many years. Despite his lackof academic training, Schaefer proved tobe an accomplished research scientist.Together, Schaefer and Langmuir pub-lished many research papers on such top-ics as surface chemistry, electronmicroscopy, the affinity of ice for surfaces,protein films, and submicroscopic particu-lates. Schaefer was promoted by GeneralElectric to research associate in 1938. Withthe advent of World War II, Schaefer andLangmuir did extensive research for themilitary on gas mask filtration, submarinedetection of sound, production of artificialfogs using smoke generators, aircrafticing, ice nuclei formation, and cloud

physics. Some of this work was carried outat the Mount Washington Observatory inNew Hampshire.

Throughout his life, Vincent Schaeferhad an interest in the Adirondacks, arche-ology, natural history, and the outdoors.He was an enthusiast hiker and skier. In1933 he began work on creating The LongPath, a hiking trail that begins near NewYork City and ends at Whiteface Mountainin the Adirondacks. During this periodSchaefer also created adult education pro-grams on natural history topics, and hespoke widely on these in the community.

In 1940 Vincent Schaefer developed amethod for making replicas of individualsnowflakes using a thin plastic coating ona microscope slide. This discovery broughthim national publicity in popular maga-zines and through this he became known inhis own right. It was this technique thatmade Schaefer’s research at Old Faithfulpossible many years later. In the summerof 1946 Vincent Schaefer discovered aprocedure for inducing snow formation byseeding supercooled water with dry ice.Although first developed as a laboratoryprocedure, in November 1946 Schaeferand Langmuir carried out a successfulfield test by seeding a natural cloud from

an airplane. According toSchaefer’s notes: “Itseemed as though thecloud almost exploded.”From the ground, Lang-muir watched the snowfall through binoculars.Later, with associateBernard Vonnegut, Schae-fer and Langmuir discov-ered that silver iodide wasa superior cloud seedingagent.

Within a few years,cloud seeding became animportant area of researchand practice. Many cloudsare inefficient sources ofmoisture, retaining morethan 90% of their water.Cloud seeding greatlyincreases the precipitationefficiency. Soon, manycommercial cloud seedingoperations began. Winter-time cloud seeding is

done to increase snow pack in ski areasand in arid mountain areas in the westwhere snow melt is a principal source ofwater. In the summer, cloud seeding isused by water agencies and hydroelectricpower companies.

The work of Schaefer, Langmuir, andVonnegut lead to a very extensive devel-opment of cloud seeding research, bothbasic and applied. Despite the controversythat ensued about the appropriateness oftampering with the weather, cloud seed-ing has become extensively utilized, espe-cially in the western part of the United

Vincent Schaefer in the field near Old Faithful Geyser.


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States. Because of the military implica-tions, Schaefer became laboratory coordi-nator of Project Cirrus, a research projectof the Air Force and Navy. Later, Schaeferworked in the Rocky Mountains with theU.S. Forest Service on the possible use ofcloud seeding to prevent lightning-inducedforest fires (Project Skyfire).

Vincent Schaefer did extensive con-sulting in atmospheric research for privateindustry, the U.S. government, and uni-versities. For some years during the 1950she was director of research for the Muni-talp Foundation, a research organizationwith extensive work in meteorology. In1960 Schaefer helped found the Atmos-pheric Sciences Research Center (ASRC)of the State University of New York atAlbany. He served as Director of Researchfor ASRC until 1966, when he becamedirector of the center. He spent the rest ofhis career at ASRC. He retired from ASRCin 1976 and died July 25, 1993, at the ageof 87. Schaefer was the recipient of manyhonors, including honorary doctoratesfrom the University of Notre Dame, SienaCollege, and York University. The Weath-er Modification Association has estab-lished a Vincent J. Schaefer Award for sci-entific and technical discoveries in thefield of weather modification, and Schae-fer himself was the first recipient of this

award. According to his obituary in theNew York Times (July 28, 1993), Schaeferpublished nearly 300 scientific papers andmany books. Among other books, he wasthe author, with John Day, of the PetersonField Guide to the Atmosphere.

Origins of the Yellowstone FieldResearch Expeditions

Schaefer had conceived the idea ofdoing cloud seeding research in Yellow-stone National Park in the 1950s, probablyduring the years when he was involvedwith Project Skyfire. He anticipated that incombination with rich moisture sourcesfrom the geysers and hot springs, the coldweather would lead to the development ofa wide variety of unique atmospheric phe-nomena. According to a report he wrotelater, Schaefer had been attempting to visitYellowstone Park in the winter for 10years but had been unable to obtain per-mission. However, in the winter of1959–1960, a park ranger was assigned tospend the winter at Old Faithful to monitorany changes in the hot springs and geysersthat might have been caused by the Heb-gen Lake earthquake of the previous sum-mer.

In the winter of 1959, through his con-tacts with Maynard Barrows (who was atthat time the Chief Forester of the park),

Schaefer was briefly able to study the win-ter conditions at Old Faithful, and didsome preliminary seeding experimentsusing dry ice and silver iodide. Barrowsand Schaefer then spent a week at OldFaithful in February 1960. The park super-intendent’s report for March 18, 1960,includes the following paragraph under theheading “Inspections: Forester MaynardBarrows...and Research Scientist VincentSchaefer...were at Old Faithful from Feb-ruary 11 to 18th conducting experiments inthe Upper Geyser Basin including seedingof steam clouds from geysers and hotpools with silver-iodide and studying gey-sers to see if they generate electricity whenthey erupt.”

For this first trip, transportation wasprovided by the National Park Service.Schaefer and Barrows drove to West Yel-lowstone, where they were met by a parkranger who transported them by Weaselsnow tractor to Madison Junction. RangerRiley McClelland met them there andtransported them the rest of the way to OldFaithful. “We arrived in time to deposit ourgear in a very cold cabin which was tobecome our headquarters for the next eightdays.”

During this visit, Schaefer found thatthe air was of exceptional purity and thatthe extensive fogs that developed during

the night and early morning were gener-ally supercooled. Conditions were idealfor cloud seeding studies. In addition, awide variety of other phenomena wereobserved, all related to the extremes ofheat and cold.

Cloud seeding at Old Faithful per-mitted detailed observations on snowcrystallization. One could test variousseeding agents, and had the ability to“catch” the process at various stages. Theair was so free of cloud condensationnuclei that it was possible to cause acloud to form above a hot spring poolsimply by lighting a match. Schaeferdescribed the experience as like “walkingin a cirrus cloud.” To study such cloudsin the atmosphere is difficult and expen-sive, requiring very sophisticated equip-ment, pressured cabins, and high-per-formance jet aircraft. Yet in Yellowstonethey can easily be studied from theground and, at modest expense, in thegeyser basins.

On a very cold day, just a lighted match was able to cause a cloud to form above a hotspring pool, 1962.







S J.












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After the 1960 exploratory visit,Schaefer determined to return the follow-ing year, bringing with him scientistfriends who were also interested in cloudseeding and related phenomena. Hereceived strong support and encourage-ment from the National Park Service andfrom Yellowstone’s SuperintendentLemuel A. Garrison and Chief NaturalistRobert N. McIntyre. The National ScienceFoundation provided financial support fora nine day visit to the park. In addition toSchaefer, seven other scientists participat-ed, as well as Maynard Barrows, who wasby then Chief Forester of Grand TetonNational Park. (In addition to his officialoversight of the expedition, Barrows alsoassisted Schaefer with some of the fieldresearch.)

This first formal visit was quite suc-cessful, and from the experiences of thisgroup Schaefer devised procedures thatwere then used for subsequent expeditions,which extended over the next decade.Although he originally called the programa “Seminar,” after the second year hechanged the title to “Expedition.” In mostof the reports, the title was given as Yel-lowstone Field Research Expedition.

According to Schaefer: “The greatvalue of a program such as [this] the

opportunity for the interdisciplinary attackon scientific problems in discussions andin field research. In addition, the experi-ence provides a brief retreat from the pres-sures and diversions of the laboratory, col-lege, or university, and thus permits the

participant not only to get a better per-spective of his current activities but byinterplay of personalities with his col-leagues he obtains new ideas and stimula-tion.”

Yellowstone Field Research Expeditions Operations

Although in the early years the facili-ties were somewhat makeshift and primi-tive, by the time of the third expedition in1963, substantial facilities were providedby the National Park Service. Two build-ings were made available: a bunk houseand a mess hall. These buildings weresouth of the Camper’s Cabins, in an areacalled “Shackville.” (I refer here to a 1949detailed map of the Old Faithful areawhich shows every building present.) Onebuilding (building 162 on the park buildinginventory) was used as a mess hall. Thiswas a double apartment that in summerprovided temporary housing for visitingNPS employees. This building had a largeroom that had kitchen facilities where thecook worked, and where meals weretaken. The cook did the cleanup afterbreakfast and lunch, but volunteers did theevening washing and drying. Since thekitchen was the only warm area in thecomplex, it served as the expedition’s

The mess hall, also used as a seminar room and makeshift office by YFRE scientists, 1968. It would soon be demolished.

National Geographic photographer Paul Zahl set up a temporary microscopy laboratorynext to his bed in the bunkhouse. 1967.























) A








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social area. After dinner, the nightly sem-inar was held in this same room. Thisbuilding had an additional smaller roomthat served as its entry, and which could beused by participants for writing or reading.The nightly “Happy Hour” also took placein this smaller room. In the early years,Harold Gooding, a restaurant owner inWest Yellowstone, did all the cooking. Inlater years, his business kept him in WestYellowstone but he hired the cook andcontinued to provide the food and all cook-ing and eating supplies.

The bunkhouse (building 163 on thepark inventory) was a log cabin used insummer by single NPS employees. It wasnear the mess hall and easily accommo-dated 12 people. The expedition purchasedhigh-quality sleeping bags filled with threepounds of goose down. A flannel sheetserved as a liner. To freshen the bags forthe next user, they were covered with snowand left outdoors for several hours. “Whenrecovered it was like they had been drycleaned.” Although the bunk house washeated by a kerosene stove, the washroompart of the building, which containedindoor showers and toilet facilities, wasnot heated, and water had to be kept run-ning at a constant drip to prevent the pipesfrom freezing. These two buildings had notbeen built for winter use, but served moreor less adequately. One year, thebunkhouse was not available and partici-pants slept in an upstairs room of the messhall. A telephone was available at the messhall, but incoming collect calls were notpermitted and outgoing collect calls couldnot be charged. Incoming calls had to berestricted to those of an emergency nature,preferably person-to-person, and only dur-ing the hours 6–7 a.m. and 6–7 p.m.

After the first two years, VincentSchaefer had refined the Yellowstone FieldResearch Expedition so that it operatedsmoothly on a four-week schedule. Thegroup was limited to 12 individuals, whichSchaefer considered the optimum numberhe could accommodate with the availablebunk and mess facilities. A different groupwould be present each week, with occa-sional visitors who were there for one ortwo days. Schaefer made a concerted effortto bring together persons who had notknown each other, except perhaps by rep-utation. He also tried to balance ages and

experiences so that senior scientists andrecent graduates were brought together.

Due to the potential rigors of the expe-dition, each participant had to submit aMedical History Form describing anypotential health problems. Student partic-ipants were also required to submit aphysician’s statement certifying that “I amcapable of participating and that I am up-to-date on tetanus booster, flu shots, a neg-ative skin test for tuberculosis, or a chest x-ray.”

En route to the park, the groups wouldrendezvous at Idaho Falls on a Monday.Most would have flown into Idaho Falls onthe previous day and stayed overnight atthe Bonneville Hotel. All travel costs forthe round trip between Idaho Falls and OldFaithful, and all living expenses in thepark, were paid by the expedition. Partici-pants were expected to provide their owntravel costs to and from Idaho Falls.

George Wehmann, a scientist at theIdaho Atomic Energy Commission facili-ty and friend of Schaefer’s, handledarrangements at Idaho Falls. (Wehmannhimself participated in several of the expe-ditions. He also returned to Old Faithfulafter the snow was gone in the spring toretrieve the electrical line to the geyser

basin as well as any materials or equip-ment that might have been lost in thesnow.) Very early the next morning, thegroup would leave Idaho Falls in two rent-ed cars for West Yellowstone, a distance of110 miles. At West Yellowstone the groupwould transfer to snowmobiles for the 30-mile oversnow trip to Old Faithful.Depending on the weather and snowdepth, the trip to Old Faithful would takefrom 1½ to 3 hours. In the early years, thesnowmobile service was operated byHarold Young, a West Yellowstone resi-dent who had pioneered commercialsnowmobile service in the park, but about1968 the NPS transferred the snowmobilefranchise to the Yellowstone Park Compa-ny. Both services operated regularly-scheduled snowmobile service to OldFaithful and provided special runs forSchaefer’s group. In addition to the runbringing in participants, there was usuallyone extra run per week bringing in com-missary items.

After the incoming group hadunloaded its gear, the outgoing groupwould load and leave immediately forWest Yellowstone, arriving by early after-noon. The same rented cars that the incom-ing group had used were driven back to

Guy Goyer of the National Center for Atmospheric Research leads an evening seminar inthe mess hall, discussing the effects of high-pressure acoustical waves on supercooledwater drops and hail. Fourth YFRE, 1964.









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Idaho Falls. Some participants were ableto make late afternoon plane connectionsto Salt Lake City.

Participants with projects that neededsupercooled clouds would arise beforesunrise, catch an early breakfast, and walkthe half mile to the Upper Geyser Basin.(In some later years, one or two smallsnowmobiles were kept at the bunkhousefor occasional use,although most peo-ple walked, skied,or snowshoed totheir study sites.)

For safety rea-sons, participantswere required totravel in pairswhenever the tem-perature was colderthan -40°F. Othertimes, participantswere encouraged totravel in pairs orsmall groups “formutual protectionfrom animals andother possible dan-gers in the thermalareas.” Over thedecade of theresearch expedi-tions, no serious accidents occurred.

Lunch was at noon, but field luncheswere available for those wishing them.Dinner was at 6:00 p.m., about an hourafter sunset. After dinner and cleanup ofthe mess hall, a seminar was held eachnight. Vincent Schaefer placed greatimportance on the nightly seminar,because it encouraged interaction amongthe participants. He especially hoped forinterdisciplinary attack on problems ofmutual interest. The titles of the seminarsare given in each year’s annual report, andthe range of topics is very wide.

In the expedition’s first years, the par-ticipants were probably selected by Vin-cent Schaefer, from his wide circle ofacquaintances. (Throughout the whole 11-year period, there was never a female par-ticipant.) As the expeditions became morewidely known, an individual with a suit-able project could apply for admission.The rule was that a first-year participantwas automatically guaranteed a place for

the next year. A few scientists with exten-sive need for the winter facilities attendedmore than twice. Schaefer made an effortto assemble each group so that it was wellbalanced, with as wide a variety of mutu-al interests as possible.

Researchers had to bring all their ownequipment. There was electrical power inthe bunkhouse and mess hall. There was

also a temporary electric powerlineextending past Old Faithful to CastleGeyser by way of the Firehole River, andoutlets were available at a number of loca-tions along this line. For field work inother locations, electrical equipment hadto be battery-operated. Although themicroprocessor had not yet been invented,there was a wide array of compact, bat-tery-operated equipment that could beused in the field. The principal problemwas that some equipment did not workwell in the cold. The key to a successfulresearch activity was to keep equipmentsimple, and to design simple experiments.This philosophy was an important part ofVincent Schaefer’s lifelong approach toscience.

Every year Vincent Schaefer assem-bled an annual report of activities that hadtaken place at the Yellowstone FieldResearch Expedition. This served as aprogress report to the National ScienceFoundation and also provided documen-

tation of all research activities. Each par-ticipant was required to submit a report ofactivities carried out, with data and photo-graphs if needed. They were usually onlya few pages long, but occasionally weremuch longer. The annual report also con-tained a list of all participants, a scheduleof all seminars, and a fairly detailed weath-er record. Any research papers that had

been publishedbased on researchdone during theexpedition werelisted at the end ofthe report. In thelater years of theexpedition, thispublication list wasoften several pageslong.

Because Schae-fer was an atmos-pheric scientist, itwas natural thatweather observa-tions were kept. Aformal procedurewas established formaking weatherobservations, andthese data werepublished in the

annual reports. Temperature was recordedat 7 a.m., noon, 5 p.m., and 10 p.m., obser-vations on snowfall, etc. made, and anyunusual optical effects were noted. Theseobservations probably provide some of thebest winter data for the Old Faithful area.


First Expedition (February 12–26, 1961)

Most of the early research of the Yel-lowstone Field Research Expeditions dealtwith atmospheric research, primarily cloudseeding. In the first expedition in 1961,Vincent Schaefer carried out three suc-cessful seeding experiments. More suc-cessful experiments would probably havebeen possible but the weather was unusu-ally warm that year.

The first seeding experiment was car-ried out on February 18, 1961, when theoutside temperature was 15°F. Using a fist-sized chunk of dry ice fastened to the end

Schaefer surveys the results of cloud seeding at Castle Geyser.


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of a wire and swung in a circle overhead,seeding was carried out upwind of OldFaithful Geyser and along the road in frontof the Old Faithful Inn (see page 2). Theseeding was carried out for about 30 min-utes. A faint bluish cloud of ice crystalscould be seen forming in the wake of thedry ice. Before the seeding the air wasquite clear, fewer than 100 particles of icecrystals per cubic meter. Within five min-utes of the seeding, the concentration ofcrystals had increased a million times. Thearea of crystallization continued to growuntil a snow shower of artificially-formedcrystals extended all the way to CastleGeyser, about a kilometer downwind. Oneof Schaefer’s colleagues, L.R. Koenigfrom the University of Chicago, usedSchaefer’s replica method to collect icecrystals. The crystals were mostly inhexagonal plates between 70 and 100microns in diameter.

A second seeding, using silver iodide,was carried out February 23, when thetemperature was 8°F. The silver iodidegenerator was a simple propane burnerwhich ignited a mixture of silveriodide/sodium iodide dissolved in acetonethat was burned in a flame holder. Thisgenerator was operated near a small steamvent east of Old Faithful. Within five min-utes, dense clouds of ice crystals werefound within 100 yards of the generator,with concentrations exceeding 1,000 percubic centimeter. Within 30 minutes, theentire area was filled with ice crystals, cre-ating a light snowfall that covered the bare

ground. Thebehavior of parti-cles in the air wasobserved with asmall searchlight.

These seedingsalso producedspectacular opticaleffects. “A flash-light pointed over-head disclosed abright spot at thezenith. A 22° haloand a verticalstreak could beseen when lookingtoward a lightsource. The moon,which was at

about half phase, produced a circum-zenithal circle passing through the moon.Venus produced sufficient illumination toproduce a striking vertical star streak.”

To observe these optical phenomena,Schaefer mounted a silvered garden sphereat a bend in the Firehole River about a halfmile downstream from Old Faithful. Thissphere provided an excellent full-sky viewand sometimes revealed phenomena thatwere too faint to seewhen looking directly atthe sky. Schaefer reflect-ed later: “Although Ihave watched the sky inthe north country morethan 60 years, I havenever seen displays suchas we observed frequent-ly at Yellowstone.”Schaefer concluded thatvaluable informationcould be obtained on theeffectiveness of differentkinds of cloud seedingtechniques using theatmosphere surroundingOld Faithful and othergeysers.

A number of othernatural phenomena werestudied during this firstexpedition. These includ-ed: natural electrificationphenomena at Old Faith-ful; radiation and heatbalance of a hot spring;

cold air entrainment in a geyser plume;infrared radiation of clear and cloudy skiesaround geyser and hot spring areas; airmovements in the Old Faithful area;growth of ice crystal particles in the elec-trified plume of Old Faithful; study of rimeice formation near hot springs; time-lapseand high-speed photos of convectivemotions in geyser clouds; radioactivity inthe vicinity of geysers and hot springs;electrical potential measurements in theUpper Geyser Basin; and optical and otherphysical properties of subcooled mist.

One result of the extreme cold and richsupply of moisture was the coating almostevery night of trees, bushes, and otherobjects with frost crystals. Even the elkand bison became coated. The trees wereoften turned into grotesque shapes, whichSchaefer called Ghost Trees. “When seenagainst a deep blue sky or by moonlightthey provide a unique experience.”

Some of the research other than cloudseeding should be noted. David Gates,whose field was micrometeorology, car-ried out extensive measurements on ther-mal radiation from objects and organismsin the Upper Geyser Basin. This work waspublished in Science in 1961. Bernard

“Ghost trees” coated with frost crystals at Old Faithful.















Basket of dry ice used for cloud seeding.
















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Vonnegut, a long-time colleague of Schae-fer (and brother of author Kurt Vonnegut),used sensitive electrical recording instru-ments to measure the electrical potential ofthe air in the geyser area. Although heexpected the geyser eruption to be electri-fied, he found that this was not so. Von-negut also measured radioactivity in theair and near the ground. He found that theair was extremely low in radioactivity,much lower than is found in urban areas.

Second Expedition (January 9–February 6, 1962)

The 1962 expedition was the first sup-ported by a three-year grant from theNational ScienceFoundation. Becauseof this assured fund-ing, Schaefer devel-oped more formalprocedures for howthe expedition wouldoperate. The secondexpedition was muchlonger than the first,28 days, and had atotal of 21 differentscientists. Becausethe weather had notbeen consistentlycold enough for effi-cient cloud seeding inthe first expedition,the second expeditionwas moved to earlyJanuary. This was awise decision, andthe first two weeks ofthe second expedition experienced plentyof cold weather. In fact, two cold weatherrecords were established, -44°F on January10 and -45°F on January 22. Parts of 25days were 13°F and colder, and parts of 10days were 0°F or colder. In addition toSchaefer, four scientists from the firstexpedition returned again, and there wereseveral new disciplines.

Boeing Company research. Anotherexpansion of the expedition involved agroup of engineers from the Boeing Com-pany of Seattle. A group of six engineers atBoeing’s Aero-Space Division, underleader Richard McDonald, became inter-ested in using the Old Faithful area as astudy site after Schaefer gave a seminar at

the Boeing Scientific Research Laborato-ry. Their interest was in the scattering ofinfrared radiation by ice crystals. Althoughtheir research was independent, they par-ticipated in all joint activities of the expe-dition and shared the cooking and livingquarters. Also, they shared some of theirequipment with the regular expeditionmembers.

The Boeing engineers established theirown field headquarters in the UpperGeyser Basin near the Old Faithful Inn.Their research concerned optical effects ofice crystal clouds. According to an onlook-er, most of the observed effects hadalready been described in the literature but

were based upon theoretical calculationsrather than direct observation. The advan-tage of Yellowstone was that it was possi-ble to generate at will different kinds of sit-uations by use of the cloud seeding tech-niques. Presumably, there was an aero-nautical or military significance to thisresearch.

Atmospheric science research.Schaefer continued his cloud seedingresearch, with an emphasis on optical phe-nomena generated by dry ice and silveriodide seeding. On February 3, Schaeferwas able to generate a complex halo phe-nomenon with silver iodide seeding thatrivaled some of the most spectacular dis-plays in the scientific literature, including

the St. Petersburg, Russia, halo complex ofthe year 1790 (see cover). Seventeen dif-ferent effects were recorded during a sin-gle period from 8:45 to 9:30 a.m., andmany were photographed. Examples ofthese phenomena include halos, parhelia,crosses with sun in the center, parhelic cir-cles, circumzenithal arcs, antisuns, antihe-lion arcs, fuzzy sun discs, and sun streaks.

A variety of other research was carriedout in 1962: specific gravity of ice samplesfrom the Yellowstone area; computation ofthe velocity of discharge of Old Faithful,its peak water volume flow, peak mass dis-charge rate, peak rate of work done aboveground, and the estimated gallons of water

discharged duringa single averageeruption; tempera-ture measurementsof trees and snowsurfaces; micro-scopic studies ofvarious snow crys-tal structures;growth of snowcrystals from thesoil near Old Faithful Geyser;infrared transmis-sion of snow andhot spring sur-faces; physicalstructure of rimeand snow crystalsforming near gey-sers; light diffrac-tion studies onclouds forming

near Old Faithful and Castle Geysers; test-ing of a continuous recording particulatesampler; measurement of the concentra-tion of condensation and freezing nuclei inthe atmosphere using portable particledetectors; testing the suitability of com-mercial refrigerants as cloud seedingagents; measurement of temperatures oftree trunks; and measurement of snowdepths around hot pools as a way of meas-uring heat flow.

Brine flies. In addition to the physicalstudies, Vincent Schafer noted the pres-ence of brine flies upon the microbial matsat a number of hot springs in the UpperGeyser Basin. Although brine flies hadbeen known for many years to be associ-

Thomas Brock and Vincent Schaefer (from left) observe brine flies at a spring, 1968.


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ated with hot springs, their existence inwinter conditions had apparently neverbeen recorded. Schaefer noted that the flieswere living in a unique microclimate. Heobserved pink areas on the surfaces ofmicrobial mats thathe determined to behigh densities ofbrine fly egg mass-es.

Schaefer con-cluded that “a veryintensive life cycleexisted among thebrine flies (Ephydrabrusei) and thattheir environmentconsisted of a high-ly restricted micro-climate duringextended periods inthe wintertime hav-ing the dimensionsof not more thantwo or three metersby one-half meterby 10 centimeters.Thus their entire‘world’consists of avolume of air of lessthan a cubicmeter…Many fasci-nating details of thelife cycle of these creatures included theirfeeding on algae under water having atemperature of 100–140°F protected by asurrounding air bubble... It is likely thatstudies in genetics would be very fruitfulbecause of the winter isolation of eachcolony.”

As far as I know, winter observationson brine flies had never been reportedbefore these studies. Schaefer’s approach,using the tools of an atmospheric scien-tist, were unique. He identified the hotspring as a tiny tropical environment com-pletely surrounded by the depths of winter.His insights here have been followed up bya number of biologists in the later 1960sand 1970s. We now know quite a bit aboutthese tiny ecosystems.

Third Expedition (January 8–February 5, 1963)

When the third expedition began inearly January 1963, there was insufficient

snow on the ground for snowmobile trav-el. A four-wheel drive vehicle of theAtmospheric Sciences Research Centerwas used to transport gear from Albanyand to reach Old Faithful during the first

week of the expedition. The snow was onethird less than the previous year, althoughthe temperature regime was similar. OnJanuary 12, a record low temperature of -47°F was reached. At the other extreme, aspectacular warm Chinook wind began onJanuary 21 and removed most of theremaining snow. On February 4 the tem-perature on Geyser Hill reached +53°F.Thus, within a three-week period the tem-perature ranged 100°F! Despite these widevariations in temperature and snow, theresearchers managed to keep busy.

New facilities were provided by theNPS that year. The building was insulated,which eliminated the pipe-freezing prob-lems experienced in past years. Also, themess hall had new equipment for foodstorage and preparation. These facilitieswere apparently used for the expeditioneach year until the late 1960s. The parkalso provided a small auxiliary buildingfor use as a cold room, and loaned the

expedition a small library of reference vol-umes that proved of great use to the scien-tists. This was the first year that studentswere participants. There were two under-graduate students and two graduate stu-

dents who workedas research assis-tants.

Further researchon ice crystal for-mation was carriedout, confirmingresults of earlieryears. Schaefer con-tinued his observa-tions on the micro-climatic environ-ment of brine flies.He used a QuestarTelescope, whichpermitted focus asclose as seven feet,to observe brineflies feeding under-water. This con-firmed his discov-ery of the previousyear that the fly wasable to feed underwater encased in abubble of air, whichprobably providedshort-term insula-

tion. Preliminary work was made on filmsthat develop on the surfaces of most hotsprings.

An interesting phenomenon observedwas the hissing sound that could be heardwhen hot water was thrown into air thatwas colder than -40°F (or -40°C, sinceboth scales are the same at this low tem-perature). The sound was most pro-nounced when the water temperature wasabove 100°F. It was uncertain whether thissound was due to a change in phase fromwater to ice, an electrical effect, or wasdue to some mechanical friction. Exten-sive electrical studies were performed onthe eruptions of Old Faithful. At tempera-tures below -40°F a striking electrical dis-charge was measured. Studies on otherkinds of chemicals that could induce cloudseeding were carried out. Observationswere made on the mechanism that con-trolled the ejection of mud droplets frommud pots.

Portable, battery-operated equipment was used extensively in the YFREs. Vincent Schaeferin center. 1962.


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Although not part of the expedition,bear researchers John Craighead and Mau-rice Hornocker visited the expedition andcarried out some hibernation studies on ablack bear. This was the first year that JohnCraighead and/or his brother Frank wasassociated with the expedition, beginninga relationship that continued through the11th and last expedition. (I believe Vin-cent Schaefer had known the Craigheadtwins since their childhood years growingup on the east coast.) At the conclusion ofthe third expedition, Schaefer entered intoan agreement with the National Park Ser-vice and the Department of the Interiorthat gave the Atmospheric SciencesResearch Center the authority to “head andcoordinate winter research activity at Yel-lowstone for the next five years.”

Fourth Expedition (January 7–February 4, 1964)

In the Fourth Expedition there were 46individuals representing27 separate organiza-tions. Nineteen werefrom universities, 10from private researchinstitutions, 9 frompublic research institu-tions, and 8 from gov-ernmental units.Although the disci-plines represented wereprimarily in atmos-pheric science, severalbiologists participated.

Publicity andmedia activities.Schaefer was alwaysmindful of his goal ofcommunicating sci-ence to the public. Dur-ing the spring of 1963,Schaefer and threeother scientists whohad participated in thatexpedition made a one-hour television pro-gram for national distribution on WNETV,on the American Association for theAdvancement of Science (AAAS) Engi-neering Series. Even greater public mediaaccess was provided during the 1964expedition, when Schaefer arranged for afilm crew from the National Film Board ofCanada to join the expedition and prepare

an educational film. This was a color film,sponsored by the American Meteorologi-cal Society and supported by the NationalScience Foundation. In addition, NBCRadio, through its Monitor program, visit-ed the expedition and recorded a series oftapes that were later broadcast nationwide.Additionally, Raymond Falconer of theAtmospheric Sciences Research Centerpresented daily broadcasts by telephone toa group of radio stations in New YorkState. These broadcasts were also carriedby the local Idaho Falls radio station.Schaefer also gave a number of noontimetalks to groups of visitors who came to theOld Faithful area with Harold Young’ssnowmobile service.

Also, several regional newspapers(Idaho, Utah, Montana, and Colorado)wrote articles on the expedition and weregiven photographs. According to Schae-fer: “We made the effort to assist in all ofthese matters, since I believe it is the duty

of scientific groups supported by publicmonies to attempt to present to the inter-ested public reliable information of aninformative nature pertaining to researchefforts. We invariably found a most atten-tive and seemingly appreciative audience.”Several park officials visited the expedi-tion this winter, including Lemuel A. Gar-rison, superintendent of the park (and soon

to become Regional Director of the Mid-west Region), Assistant SuperintendentRichard A. Nelson, Chief Naturalist JohnM. Good, and several district naturalists.These officials were able to observe exper-iments in progress.

Atmospheric research. This year,apparently for the first time, arrangementshad been made with the Yellowstone ParkCompany for access to the “Captain’sWalk” at the top of Old Faithful Inn, per-mitting observations and research experi-ments from this point high above OldFaithful. The winterkeepers at the inn, Mr.and Mrs. Don Sun, gave eager coopera-tion to this venture.

The winter of 1964 was another mildwinter, and the lack of extreme cold pre-vented some types of research observa-tions. Only twice did the temperature dropbelow -20°F and the maximum tempera-ture was mostly above +25°F, occasional-ly even above freezing. However, there

were enoughcold morningsfor certain kindsof cloud seedingstudies to bedone. A methodwas devised forproducing a lineof silver iodidenuclei for icecrystal forma-tion. This wasdone by impreg-nating 100 feet ofprimacord withsilver iodide anddetonating italmost instanta-neously. Samplesof ice crystalsresulting fromthis seeding werecollected about ahalf mile away. A

new type of seeding procedure using apyrotechnic road flare containing silveriodate was developed and tested. In anoth-er study, a 200-foot lightweight samplingboom was tested in the vicinity of CastleGeyser. In findings that may have antici-pated air pollution studies, evidence wasobtained of organic residues present in theclean atmosphere of Yellowstone.

A Canadian film crew visits the YFRE site in 1964.


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Frank C. Craighead. In his first par-ticipation in the Yellowstone FieldResearch Expeditions, biologist Frank C.Craighead tested a device he had con-structed for telemetering temperature read-ings from remote sites. At this time, Craig-head was on the staff of the Environmen-tal Research Institute at Carlisle, Pennsyl-vania. Later, he became a staff member ofthe Atmospheric Sciences Research Centerin Albany.

The temperature probe Craighead usedwas able to transmit temperature data fromthe winter environment of brine flies feed-ing on microbial mats in hot springs. Hewas able to show that the temperature of abrine fly egg mass about one inch abovethe water varied from 63°F to 86°F over a40-minute period. The report includes aphotograph of Frank Craighead measur-ing the temperature of the brine flymicroenvironment. Presumably, Craig-head had chosen the brine fly habitat fortesting this equipment because of Schae-

fer’s interest in these animals. Craigheadalso reported the first stages of a radio-tracking program for large animal researchin the park. This was a cooperative pro-gram involving the National Park Service,the Montana Cooperative WildlifeResearch Unit, and the EnvironmentalResearch Institute of Carlisle, Pennsylva-nia. Involved in this research as guests ofthe expedition were John J. Craighead and

Maurice G. Hornocker of the WildlifeManagement Institute of Montana StateUniversity.

The 1964 expedition was the final of athree-year series supported by the Nation-al Science Foundation. Schaefer appliedfor and received a grant for an additionalthree years, thus supporting the expeditionthrough 1967.

To Be Continued

12 Yellowstone Science

Thomas D. Brock began researching the microor-ganisms of Yellowstone hot springs in 1964. Withhis students and associates, he carried out awide-ranging research program in the park in the1960s and 1970s. He participated in the Yellow-stone Field Research Expeditions in the winters of1967 and 1968. Since his retirement from the Uni-versity of Wisconsin at Madison he has continuedto maintain his interest in Yellowstone. He is onthe Board of the Yellowstone Association, and is amember of its Educational Services and Educa-tional Products Committees.

Participants of the Second YFRE on the final day of the expedition, along with their cook and driver. Vincent Schaefer ison far right. February 6, 1962.















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The 100th birthday of Margaret“Mardy” Murie, of Moose, Wyoming, onAugust 18, 2002, has brought well-deserved attention to the legacy of theMurie family in this region and beyond.Sharing that attention with Mardy—andleading the celebration—on this occasionwas the recently established Murie Center,of Moose, Wyoming, which seeks to honorthe Murie legacy by serving as a “voicefor the value of wild nature and its con-nection to the human spirit.”

The Murie legacy is a rich one, ingreater Yellowstone and internationally.Mardy and her husband, Olaus, one of thepast century’s most influential wildlifebiologists and conservationists, arrived inJackson Hole in 1927, so Olaus couldstudy its already controversial elk herd. In1945, Mardy and Olaus, along withMardy’s younger sister Louise and herhusband Adolph Murie (Olaus’s half

brother), purchased a small but magnifi-cently situated guest ranch near Moose,and converted it into the family home.Olaus and Adolph used the ranch as theirhome bases for research and conservationwork the rest of their lives.

Olaus died in 1963, and Mardy hascontinued to live at the Murie Ranch.Adolph died in 1974, and Louise, who cel-ebrated her 90th birthday in March, nowlives in Jackson and is still very active inregional conservation, including workwith the Teton Science School and mem-bership on the boards of directors of boththe Jackson Hole Conservation Allianceand the Murie Center.

Among their contributions to greaterYellowstone, the Muries may be bestknown for several literary and scientificclassics. Adolph’s Ecology of the Coyotein the Yellowstone (1940), a milestonestudy of the role of predators in a wild

ecosystem, was one of the most influentialworks in the history of national parkwildlife management. Olaus’s study of theJackson Hole elk served as the foundationfor his equally influential The Elk of NorthAmerica (1951). Olaus and Mardy co-wrote one of the most popular and power-ful memoirs of life in this region, WapitiWilderness (1966).

The passion for wild places that theseworks display was equally evident in manyother Murie works, the best-known beingtheir books and monographs: Mardy’s Twoin the Far North (1962) and IslandBetween (1977); Olaus’s Alaska-YukonCaribou (1935), Field Guide to AnimalTracks (1954), Fauna of the AleutianIslands and Alaska Peninsula (1959), andJourneys to the Far North (1973); andAdolph’s The Wolves of Mount McKinley(1944), A Naturalist in Alaska (1961), andThe Grizzlies of Mount McKinley (1981).

Honoring the Murie LegacyMardy Murie turns 100

by Paul Schullery

Mardy and Olaus Murie at theirTeton ranch home, 1953. TheMurie name and ranch have beensynonymous with the cause ofwilderness preservation andpathbreaking research in greaterYellowstone for more than a halfcentury.























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All of these works, and many more short-er papers, reports, and publications, wereand are important in the evolution of fed-eral land-management direction.

Though Olaus was the one with anofficial leadership position in The Wilder-ness Society (he served as its presidentbeginning in 1945), both Mardy and Olauswere universally recognized as a team inthe campaigns for wilderness protection.The ranch functioned as the headquarters

for The Wilderness Society, and theMuries continued to host society meetingsthere into the 1960s. Aldo Leopold, SigurdOlson, Howard Zahniser, and many otherof the nation’s (and the world’s) leadingfigures in ecology and conservation tookpart in important meetings at the ranch.Momentous legislation that grew from theenergies mobilized at the ranch includedthe designation of the Arctic NationalWildlife Refuge (1960) and the Wilder-ness Act (1964).

FollowingOlaus’s death,Mardy carried onwith their work,speaking, writing,and continuing tohost the foremostconservationistsof the time at theMurie Ranch.Raised in Alaskaand the firstfemale graduateof the AlaskaAgricultural Col-lege and Schoolof Mines (1924),she was well-suit-

ed to be perhaps the most eloquent andeffective voice on behalf of the protectionof Alaskan lands during that great nation-al debate in the 1970s. Widely and fre-quently honored as the matriarchal figureof the conservation movement, mostrecently Mardy was awarded the Presi-dential Medal of Freedom by PresidentClinton in 1998, and the National WildlifeFederation’s J.N. Ding Darling Conserva-tionist of the Year Award in 2002. Her life

has been celebrated in asuperbly produced videonarrated by Harrison Ford,Arctic Dance: The MardyMurie Story, and an equallymemorable companion vol-ume by the same name writ-ten by Charles Craigheadand Bonnie Kreps. Both areavailable from the MurieCenter bookstore at the website address given below.

The Murie Ranch’s roleas a center of conservationthinking and action has been

continued by The Murie Center, created in1997, the same year that the Murie prop-erty was designated a National HistoricDistrict. A non-profit organization work-ing in partnership with Grand TetonNational Park, the center is based at theranch and has recently launched a cam-paign to restore the historic structures,establish additional facilities, and endow along-range program to honor and promotethe Murie legacy. Much like the Leopoldfamily “shack” near Baraboo, Wisconsin,

from which cameLeopold’s classic work ofnatural history and con-servation, A Sand CountyAlmanac (1949), theMurie Ranch has becomea symbol of the accumu-lated wisdom it shelteredand the ideas it helpedinspire.

This year, Murie Cen-ter activities included avariety of workshops and“conversations,” as wellas a symposium, “WildNature and the HumanSpirit,” held August24–27. The center has

already earned the involvement of manyconservation and literary luminaries,including Peter Matthiessen, GeorgeSchaller, Terry Tempest Williams, andBarry Lopez. Former Yellowstone Super-intendent Bob Barbee currently serves asvice chair of the center’s board of direc-tors. For more information on Murie Cen-ter programs, contact them at The MurieCenter, P.O. Box 399, Moose, WY 83012,(307) 739-2246, [email protected], or visit their web site

Paul Schullery, a former editor of Yellow-stone Science, works part-time in the Yel-lowstone Center for Resources as a writer-editor. His most recent book is Lewis andClark Among the Grizzlies (Falcon/GlobePequot, 2002).

Lyndon Johnson signs the Wilderness Act. Mardy Murieand Alice Zahniser stand left.

Olaus and Mardy Murie in their trail furswhile on their Alaskan dogsled honeymoon.

Olaus and Mardy Murie later in life.

Fireplace at the Murie Ranch, which hasbecome a symbol of the ideas it helpedinspire.

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In the 1960s, Don White and col-leagues from the U.S. Geological Surveyin Menlo Park, California, drilled a seriesof experimental wells in YellowstoneNational Park to study groundwater chem-istry, heat flow below the surface, and sub-surface mineral composition (White 1975,1988). At the time, few people suspectedthat the Earth’s subsurface might be shotthrough with life. Scientists have since dis-covered that microorganisms inhabit muchof the subsurface to depths of several kilo-meters, suggesting that a significant por-tion of the Earth’s biomass may occurunderground in the form of microorgan-isms that inhabit soil, groundwater, and thepore spaces within rocks. Microorganismshave been observed as deep as seven kilo-meters below the Earth’s surface in Swe-den’s Siljan Ring, a granitic region north-

west of Stockholm where oil and gas havebeen found within granite; and in subma-rine hydrothermal vent flows from belowthe deep sea floor. Such organisms are ofinterest due to their unique ecology andpotentially large impact on chemicalprocesses in the subsurface.

Most of the wells drilled by the USGSin Yellowstone were under high pressureand required special fittings to preventeruption. Later, some of these wells diderupt as man-made geysers that had to becapped with tons of concrete. The wellswere drilled prior to the implementationof the National Environmental Policy Act(NEPA) that requires analysis of environ-mental impacts of given actions requiringa federal permit. To do this kind of worktoday would require, at the least, an Envi-ronmental Assessment (EA), more likelyan Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).

Of the 13 wells that were originally drilledto depths ranging from 215 to over 1,000feet, only two, Well Y-7 in Biscuit Basinand Well Y-10 on the Mammoth Terrace,remain uncapped and as such, provide forresearch opportunity. Well Y-7 plunges 75m (245 ft) down into the aquifer of BiscuitBasin. This makes the well a unique portalinto the potential subsurface biosphere ofthe Yellowstone geothermal system. Thewell is unpressurized, with standing waterone meter below a valve at the surface, andis lined with steel casing to 32m (102 ft.).A natural thermal gradient exists in thewell, from about 50°C at the surface to141°C at the bottom, which does not boildue to hydrostatic pressure. Thus, in prin-ciple, the well is a good location to seekpotential life at the highest temperatures,above the normal boiling point of water of100°C at sea level (about 94°C at the alti-

A Search for Life in Yellowstone's Well Y-7Portal to the Subsurface

by John R. Spear, Jeffrey J. Walker, Susan M. Barns, and Norman R. Pace

An in situ growth vial,designed to detect thepresence of subsurfacemicrobiota, is attached toa stainless steel cable fordeployment into Yellow-stone’s Well Y-7.









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tude of the Yellowstone area). Well Y-7spans the thermal range where “ther-mophiles” (heat-loving microorganisms)and even “hyperthermophiles,” can live(above 50°C and 80°C, respectively). Cur-rently, the known upper temperature limitfor life is 113°C, a record held byPyrolobus fumarii, a member of thedomain of life Archaea, that lives inhydrothermal vents on the floor of theAtlantic Ocean.

Microbial life has recently been dis-covered in several unique environmentspreviously considered inhospitable for life.Because such organisms thrive in environ-ments humans would consider extreme,they are known as “extremeophiles.” Inaddition to high temperature and subsur-face environments, microbes are found tothrive in environments with high salt con-centrations, high radiation, high pressure,low water availability, and very low tem-peratures. In order to accommodate thesechemical and physical environments, suchorganisms have evolved enzymes (proteins

that catalyze important biochemical reac-tions) that function well under the condi-tions (Pace, 2001). Enzymes isolated fromextremeophiles have spawned a billion-dollar industry in biotechnology and bio-medicine. For example, the recently com-pleted human genome sequence projectwas made possible by the discovery of thethermostable Taq DNA polymerase, iso-lated from Thermus aquaticus, a bacteri-um originally found and studied in Yel-lowstone National Park.

Since the 1960s, when Tom Brock andcolleagues began to study Yellowstone’sthermal pools and discovered bacterial res-idents such as T. aquaticus, scientists havewondered about the upper temperaturelimit for life (Brock 1978). The occurrenceof life at near-boiling temperatures raisesthe question: What is the upper tempera-ture limit at which an organism, or a com-munity of organisms can thrive? Bio-chemists theorize that the molecules thatconstitute life could function at tempera-tures perhaps up to 150°C. Indeed, current

theories suggest that life may have origi-nated in a hydrothermal environment, inthe absence of oxygen, about four billionyears ago. An expansion in our knowledgeof the diversity of terrestrial life may tell uswhere life is possible elsewhere in the uni-verse. Since most planets have heatedcores, a geothermally-warmed planetarysubsurface could potentially harbor com-munities of microbial organisms protectedfrom a harsh, outer world. Life in Earth’sown warm subsurface may be a model forlife on other planets, where temperature,pressure and radiation on the surface mayexceed the limits for life.

We know remarkably little about thenatural microbial world even on Earth.Until recently it was usually impossible toidentify most microbes in the environ-ment. It has been estimated that more than99% of the microorganisms in the envi-ronment are incapable of being culturedusing standard techniques (Amman et al.1995). Microbiologists have traditionallyrelied on cultivation techniques (growth oforganisms in the laboratory) to identifyand compare microbes. This involves thegrowth of organisms in “pure” culture, freeof other organisms. This, however, is ahighly unnatural state, because mostorganisms in the environment live in com-munities, the composition of which canvary with the local geochemistry and envi-ronmental conditions, time of day andnight or season, etc. To be sure, tradition-al culture techniques have revealed muchabout microorganisms. However, duplica-tion of the environmental requirements ofan organism in the laboratory is virtuallyimpossible. Consequently, naturally-occurring microorganisms are seldom cap-tured in culture.

However, modern molecular methodsallow microbes to be identified without theneed to culture them. DNA genesequences extracted directly from organ-isms allow us to compare their similaritiesand differences, and can be used to makemaps of the evolutionary relatedness oforganisms. Such phylogenetic studies ofthe small subunit of the ribosomal RNA(rRNA) gene have opened a new, molecu-lar view of microbial diversity, and indeedall biodiversity. The ribosome is the com-ponent in all cells responsible for the pro-duction of proteins (the molecules that

Well Y-7

Locations of exploratory wells drilled in Yellowstone by the USGS during the 1960s. White, Fournier, & Truesdell, 1975.

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Fall 2002 17

allow cells to metabolize and function). Itis made up of different sub-units, some ofwhich are ribonucleic acid (RNA). For anumber of reasons, the gene rDNA, thatcodes for the small subunit of the riboso-mal ribonucleic acid (RNA), is particular-ly useful for phylogenetic analyses (Woese1987). The molecular identification, bymeans of 16S rRNA of organisms com-prising communities provides insight intocommunal function, and the physiology ofnaturally-occurring organisms often canbe inferred based upon the physiology ofcultivated organisms to which the molecu-larly identified organisms may be closelyrelated. At this time, the use of thesemolecular methods is the only way to iden-tify most microbial organisms in situ inthe environment.

The molecular identification ofmicrobes is based on a relatedness frame-work that includes all life. The molecularsequence-based view of life’s diversityshows that there are three large relatednessgroups, “domains” of life: Bacteria,Archaea, and Eukarya, of which wehumans are representative (see Pace 1997for review). Figure 1 shows a phylogenet-ic tree, or evolutionary map, containing 64species of organisms based upon their 16S(or 18S for the Eukarya) rDNA sequences.The more separated different species arealong the line segments in this tree, themore distantly related they are.

Molecular studies of Yellowstone’s hotsprings have revealed hundreds of newbacterial and archaeal species. Particular-ly intriguing are the thermophilic microor-ganisms. Some of the Bacteria that arevisually conspicuous in Yellowstone hotsprings are shown in the phylogenetic treeof Figure 1. “EM-17,” a close relative ofthe cultivated Aquifex, is the main organ-ism that makes up pink filamentous mate-rial that can be seen in several of the near-boiling springs in the park. OPS66, a rela-tive of Thermatoga, is another abundantconstituent of high-temperature biofilms.JP27 and JP78 are cloned rRNA genes thatrepresent new kinds of archaeons, deeplydivergent from known kinds of life and notyet cultured, that were first discovered inYellowstone’s Obsidian Pool. Organismssuch as these high-temperature Yellow-stone microbes exhibit particularly shortlines from the original common ancestor

in Figure 1, the “root” of the tree of life.Thus, these Yellowstone microbes may beamong the most closely related of anymodern organisms to the earliest life. Thisis one reason for the idea that life formedunder hot conditions on the early Earth.


Any documentation of life in Well Y-7would require microscopic analysis todetect organisms, and DNA sequenceanalysis to identify them. Thus, our strat-egy for seeking microbial life in well Y-7has been to suspend in the well a cablewith attached glass slides, upon whichmicrobial biofilms can develop. The slides

can be retrieved at different times formicroscopic inspection. Any developedbiofilm can be scraped from the slide forrDNA analysis. We have successfully usedthis method in several surface hot springsin the park.

During the course of this study, we sur-veyed the temperature profile of Well Y-7at different times of the year over a sever-al year period, and conducted a chemicalanalysis of the well water at the surface.The temperature profile of the well isdepicted in Figure 2. The year-round tem-perature of the well at the surface isapproximately the same, at 47°C ± 2°C.The bottom temperature, however, ranged





















0.1 changes / nucleotide



















































Gp. 2 low temp

Gp. 1 low temp

marine Gp. 1 low temp

pSL 12pSL 22

pSL 50




pJP 78

pJP 27














Thermococcus Th








Gp. 3 low temp





Figure 1: A universal phylogenetic tree based on small sub-unit ribosomal RNA sequences.The scale bar represents 0.1 changes per nucleotide. Humans are represented by the Homogrouping within the crown group of Eukarya. Adapted from Pace, 1997.

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from 135°C in September 1999 to 110°Cin December 1999. By late spring 2000,the temperature at the bottom was back to135°C. Thus, any experiments in Well Y-7that may depend on temperature requireclose monitoring of the temperature gradi-ent. Such extreme seasonal temperaturevariation in the deep portion of the wellwas completely unexpected, and will con-tinue to be monitored.

The chemistry of the surface water ofWell Y-7 was determined with an ion

coupled plasma analyzer for inorganic ele-ments in the water, a total organic carbonanalyzer (TOC) for carbon in the water,and an ion chromatograph (IC) for anionsin the water (Table 1). Particularly note-worthy is the absence of sulfate, even inthe presence of readily detectable (3 mg/L)total sulfur. This indicates that the Well Y-7 water is highly reduced and containsvery little oxygen. The non-sulfate sulfurpresumably occurs as hydrogen sulfide.The chemistry of the water at the bottom

of the well was not deter-mined, nor was the extentof groundwater flowthrough the lower well.

On several occasionsover the six-year periodof the study we suspend-ed plain glass slidesalong the length of thewell for times from a fewweeks to several months.Any evidence for thedevelopment of micro-bial biofilms was meager,however. Only isolatedcells were detected. Itappeared that if there waslife in Well Y-7, there wasnot much of it, and thatany growth was slow.This led us to postulatethat some importantnutrient might be absentfrom the well, and thatwe might be able toencourage faster growth

of any organisms present by adding appro-priate nutrients. We designed an in situgrowth chamber vial (see Figure 3) thatcould be suspended from the cable (Figure4) that contained a glass slide bathed in atimed-release growth medium. The growthchamber was perforated to allow exchangeof well water with the inside, and conse-quently, inoculation by indigenousmicrobes. Based on the chemistry of thewell water, we designed a simple mediumto provide a carbon and energy source(lactate and formate), and an electronacceptor (sulfate) that many microbes canuse in respiration. The timed-release ofgrowth medium was achieved by infusingthe pores of a balsa wood plug, on whichthe glass growth surface is supported, withthe growth medium. Laboratory tests withcolored dyes showed that the medium

continued to diffuse out of the balsa woodfor more than a week. We put cotton bat-ting in some of the vials to provide anorganic growth surface for potentialmicrobes, as well as to restrict the diffu-sion of the medium in the flux of wellwater. We attached the autoclaved-sterilevials and lowered the cable down the well,where the growth vials were allowed tohang for one to six months.

After these deployments, we winchedthe cable up and collected the growthchambers for analysis. Vials with glassslides testing for microbial growth weresuspended in 4% paraformaldehyde for

Yellowstone Well Y-7, Temperature Profile











40 50 60 70 80 90 100 110 120 130 140

Temperature (C)






Steel Casing

Winter, 18 Dec. 1999

18% cooler at bottom

Fall, 25 September 1999

Summer, August 1993

Figure 2. Well Y-7 temperature/depth profile.

In Situ Growth Chamber

Screw Top


Sample Vial(Polypropylene)

Water-Inlet Port(Front to Back-2 holes)

Glass Slide

6.4 cm

1.3 cm

Pore-ChargedBalsa Wood

Figure 3. In situ growth chamber.

Table 1. Chemistry of Well Y-7 surface water. The chemistryof water from the bottom of the well was not determined.



Arsenic.........................................0.66Boron ...........................................2.05Calcium........................................0.40Copper..........................................0.53Iron...............................................3.38Lithium ........................................1.13Phosphorus...................................1.02Potassium...................................22.21Silicon ......................................103.76Sodium.....................................265.05Sulfur ...........................................3.05Zinc ..............................................0.27Total Organic Carbon...................39.0Fluoride........................................0.50Chloride detectSulfates detect

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both light and scan-ning electronmicroscopy (SEM).Vials with a cottongrowth surface forDNA extraction weresuspended in tubeswith 70% ethanol.Samples were held at4°C until analysis.Glass slides werevisualized on amicroscope withlight, phase contrast,and epifluorescence(cells stained with theDNA stain DAPI).Slides for SEM wereprepared by standardprotocols (Gerhardt,et al. 1994) and visu-alized with an SEM microscope. Cottongrowth surfaces analyzed for DNA con-tent were prepared as described by Hugen-holz (1998a, b) with the addition of a des-iccation step to remove the 70% ethanol.

Observations of the glass slides indi-cated only a few bacterial cells present at27 m (90 feet) and 89°C. No slides devel-

oped the lush bacterial biofilms observedin other Yellowstone locations like Octo-pus Spring in the White Creek Region ofthe Midway Geyser Basin (Figure 5).Instead, we saw, as with glass slides alone,only a few cells, attached sporadically. Thegreatest number of cells was obtained onslides hung just below the surface at 47°C

(Figure 6a). Below 27m and 90°C, we foundno cell-like structureson the glass slides.Instead, we found acrystal-like precipita-tion formed on the sur-face of the slide,increasing in densitythe farther down thewell that the slide wassuspended (Figure 6b).No cells were foundbelow the steel casingof the well that extendsto 32 m below the sur-face. It appears thatany biomass that maybe present is extremelylow in concentrationthroughout the lengthof the well. Addition-ally, DNA extractionsperformed on cottongrowth surface sam-ples hung at variousdepths were negative,

due to very low cellnumbers, if any.Thus, we concludethat the Well Y-7component of Yel-lowstone’s subsur-face is essentiallydevoid of growingorganisms.


The detection ofcells only in theupper 27 m of thewell, to a tempera-ture of 89°C, isunequivocal. Howev-er, the sporadicoccurrence of onlyone or a few cellssuggests that they did

not grow on the slides. In the absence ofbiofilm-formation, it seems most likelythat observed cells came from somewherehigher in the well, perhaps dislodged dur-ing operations. It is also possible, since thefew cells found were only in the region ofthe steel casing, not below the casing, thateither iron concentration or groundwaterflow plays a role in where cells can survivehere.

Overall, it seems most likely that thelack of microorganisms along the length ofWell Y-7 is due to thermodynamicallyunfavorable conditions for life. That is, thewell water is sufficiently chemicallyreduced that life cannot occur. Lifeprocesses require both an energy source(food) and an “electron-acceptor” (some-thing for cells to breathe). The reducedstate found by the water chemistry analy-sis discussed earlier indicates that thepotential electron-acceptors sulfate,nitrate, and oxygen are absent. Althoughour experimental apparatus supplied anelectron acceptor for cells to use, it seemslikely that no cells were available in thesubsurface system surrounding Y-7 to actas innocula. This situation contrasts withthe surface hot springs, where the reduced,sub-surface waters emerge into an envi-ronment rich in those electron acceptors,such as oxygen, where life can flourish.We suppose that this essentially lifelessstate of Well Y-7 extends throughout thereduced subsurface Yellowstone

Figure 5. Scanning electron micrograph of a glass slide sus-pended in Octopus Spring. Biofilm containing a variety of celltypes is visible.

Figure 4. Cable with attached vials is lowered into the well.










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hydrothermal system,and probably otherhydrothermal systemsworldwide.


We believe that thesein situ experiments showthat Well Y-7 is probablydevoid of metabolicallyactive life. The wellremains a valuableresearch tool, however,as a portal for otherprobes into thehydrothermal system ofBiscuit Basin. Only theupper one-third of thewell’s length is cased, sothe lower well is in con-tact with the localhydrothermal flow. WellY-7 is an excellent loca-tion to study and monitorgroundwater propertiessuch as temperature,chemical, and isotopiccontents. Variations inthe properties of the sub-surface waters probablydrive variation in thebehavior of the BiscuitBasin thermal features.

The Yellowstone high-temperaturemicrobial ecosystem has long been con-sidered by researchers to be supportedmainly by sulfur-metabolism. In such asystem, hydrogen sulfide (food), is utilizedalong with oxygen (electron-acceptor).However, recent research shows that thatkind of metabolism, however, is probablyonly a minor component of the productivemetabolism of the Yellowstone ecosystem.Sulfides and other sulfur compounds arecertainly conspicuous, both in measure-ments and in the rich odor of hydrogensulfide that emanates from several thermalfeatures, but another element, hydrogen,is likely to be the dominant energy sourcein the Yellowstone system. Hydrogen isthe strongest electron donor (energysource) available to microbiota, and pre-liminary results indicate that Yellowstone’shot springs are rich in hydrogen (Spear,2001). The biological observations in hotsprings are consistent with the notion ofhydrogen as a dominant energy source.The Aquifex-like and Thermatoga-likeorganisms that dominate both high-sulfur(e.g. Norris Geyser Basin) and low-sulfur(e.g. Midway Geyser Basin) hot springs,although not studied in culture, are closerelatives of hydrogen-metabolizing organ-isms that respire with oxygen or sulfate.Molecular hydrogen, a potential energysource for microbes, probably is common

in all ground waters (Stevensand McKinley 1995). Themechanism by which hydro-gen is formed in groundwa-ters is not entirely clear. Onemain reaction between waterand iron-bearing rock is theoxidation of reduced iron(Fe2+), to form oxidized iron(Fe3+) and hydrogen. Deter-minations of hydrogen inYellowstone hot springs andcorrelated molecular phylo-genetic surveys for microbialspecies are ongoing in ourlaboratory in order to explorerelationships between geo-chemistry and microbialdiversity.

Figure 6a. Scanning electron micrograph of a glass slide sus-pended just under the surface of the water in Well Y-7. A cou-ple of cell types are apparent, but no biofilm is visible.

Figure 6b. Crystal-like structures observed on glass slidesfrom the 50 m depth of Well Y-7, at approximately 110°C. Nocell-like structures are observable.

Well Y-7 is uncapped for researchers John Spear, Jeff Walker, and Kirk Harris.





















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We thank Ann Deutch at the Yellow-stone Center for Resources, who allowedthis research project to proceed smoothly,and the several rangers and volunteers ofYellowstone National Park who helpedwith access to the well and provided pub-lic interpretation for visitors to the proj-ect. In addition, we thank Richard Har-nish, Environmental Science and Engi-neering Division at the Colorado School ofMines, for assistance with the water chem-istry analysis. Tom Moses (USGS, MenloPark, CA) provided some early tempera-ture data. Brett Goebel (Australian MiningCompany) conducted early tests with insitu growth chambers. Contributions fromMary Bateson, Montana State University,Anna-Louise Reysenbach, Portland StateUniversity, and Robert Fournier, retiredfrom USGS, are appreciated. Funds forthis work were provided by the NationalScience Foundation's Life in ExtremeEnvironments program.

Literature Cited

Amann, R.I., W. Ludwig, and K.H. Schleifer.1995. Phylogenetic identification and in situdetection of individual microbial cells with-out cultivation. Microbial. Rev. 59: 143–169.

Barns, S.M. 1995. Phylogenetic analysis of nat-urally occurring high temperature microbialpopulations. University of Indiana, Bloom-ington, Ph.D. Thesis.

Brock, T.D. 1978. Thermophilic microorgan-isms and life at high temperatures. NewYork: Springer-Verlag.

Gerhardt, P., R.G.E. Murray, W.A. Wood, andN.R. Krieg. 1994. Methods for general andmolecular bacteriology. Washington D.C.:American Society for Microbiology.

Hugenholtz, P., C. Pitulle, K.L. Hershberger,and N.R. Pace. 1998a. Novel division levelbacterial diversity in a Yellowstone hotspring. J. Bacteriol. 180: 366–376.

Hugenholtz, P., B.M.Goebel, and N.R. Pace.1998b. Impact of culture-independent stud-ies on the emerging view of bacterial diver-sity. J. Bacteriol. 180: 4765–4774.

Pace, Norman R. 1997. A molecular view ofmicrobial diversity and the biosphere. Sci-ence 276: 734–740.

—- 2001. The universal nature of biochem-istry. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. 98: 805–808.

Reysenbach, A-L., G.S. Wickham, and N.R.

Pace. 1994. Phylogenetic analysis of thehyperthermophilic pink filament communityin Octopus Spring, Yellowstone NationalPark. Appl. Env. Micro. 60: 2113–2119.

Spear, J.R., and N.R. Pace. 2001. Manuscript inpreparation.

Stevens, T.O., and J.P. McKinley. 1995.Lithoautotrophic microbial ecosystems indeep basalt aquifers. Science 270: 450–454.

White, D.E., R.A. Hutchinson, and T.C. Keith.1988. The geology and remarkable thermalactivity of Norris Geyser Basin,Yellowstone

National Park, Wyoming. U.S. GeologicalSurvey Professional Paper #1456. Washing-ton, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office.

White, D.E., R.O. Fournier, L.J.P. Muffler &A.H. Truesdell. 1975. Physical results ofresearch drilling in thermal areas of Yellow-stone National Park, Wyoming. USGS Pro-fessional Paper 892, Washington, D.C.:USGPO.

Woese, C.R. 1987. Bacterial evolution. Micro-biol. Rev. 51: 221–271.

John Spear (right) is a postdoctoral fellow in Dr. Norman Pace’s laboratory in theDepartment of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology at the University of Col-orado at Boulder. He earned degrees (M.S. and Ph.D.) in Environmental Science andEngineering from the Colorado School of Mines in Golden, Colorado, studying thereduction of soluble uranium by sulfate reducing bacteria. In his current position, he islooking for microbiota in and around Yellowstone with consideration for how thatmicrobiota is related to various environmental chemistries.

Jeff Walker (left) is a graduate student at the University of Colorado at Boulder in thelaboratory of Norman Pace. In his doctoral research, Jeff studies endolithic microbialecosystems—communities of microorganisms that live in the pore space of rocks. Jeff isalso involved in studying the microbiology of Yellowstone National Park.

Sue Barns (not pictured) was an undergraduate and graduate student in the laborato-ry of Norman Pace, and focused her doctoral research on high temperature microor-ganisms in Yellowstone. She is currently a researcher at Los Alamos National Labora-tory, Los Alamos, New Mexico, using DNA-based techniques to study bacterial diversi-ty in soils.

Norman Pace (top) is a Professor in the Department of Molecular, Cellular and Devel-opmental Biology at the University of Colorado at Boulder. His laboratory has long beeninvolved in molecular studies of microbes in extreme environments. Pace is a memberof the National Academy of Sciences and a Fellow of the MacArthur Foundation. He isalso a Fellow and Bicking Award recipient of the National Speleological Society.





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Evidence of grizzly bear predation on a black bear inHayden Valley

by Kerry A. Gunther and Mark J. Biel

Both grizzly and black bears live in Yellowstone National Park. In this and other areas where grizzly bears andblack bears are sympatric (share habitat), temporal isolation and behavioral differences tend to reduce direct com-petition between the two species. In the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, grizzly bears are generally most activefrom dusk until dawn, while black bears are most active during the daytime. Grizzly bears evolved to forage inopen meadow habitats, whereas black bears are primarily adapted to living in forests. Grizzlies also have longerclaws and larger shoulder musculature than black bears, making them more efficient at foraging roots and ground-dwelling small mammals abundant in open meadows. Grizzlies are generally larger than black bears, and are muchmore aggressive in defending themselves and their offspring from predators, including other grizzlies. Black bearstypically escape predators by running into forest cover or climbing trees.

On August 2, 1998, park visitors looking for grizzly bears from Grizzly Overlook in Hayden Valley observedsome ravens on a carcass on the northeast side of the Yellowstone River. Upon focusing their spotting scope on thecarcass, they could clearly see the partially consumed remains of a black bear in the tall grass next to the river. Thevisitors reported the presence of the carcass to Canyon area rangers, who immediately forwarded the report to thepark’s Bear Management Office. We received permission from the rangers to canoe across the Yellowstone River to

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examine and retrieve the carcass. Accompa-nied by biological technician Christie Hendrixand park ranger Keith Gad, we canoed acrossthe river to the carcass. Although the deadbear was not visible to motorists along theroad, a large number of park visitors immedi-ately pulled over to watch as we launched thecanoe, creating a large canoe-jam. We pad-dled downstream and across the river andpulled the canoe up onto the bank next to theblack bear’s carcass to examine it. The carcasswas that of an adult male weighing (minus theeaten tissue) 171 pounds. Prior to being con-sumed, the bear had likely weighed over 200pounds. The bear had canine puncture woundsto the head and nose, as well as a crushedskull and left eye socket.

The wounds were consistent with thosethat would have been inflicted by a bear orother large predator. When fighting, bears willoften bite each other on the nose in an effortto neutralize their opponents’ weapons (teeth).We also found two bear scats containing vege-tation next to the carcass. The predator thathad killed and partially consumed the blackbear had likely defecated these scats whilefeeding on its carcass. We collected the scatsfor DNA analysis to aid in determining thespecies of the predator that had killed theblack bear, then loaded the carcass and twoscats into the canoe and ferried upstream backacross the river to the large aggregation ofpeople that had congregated to watch. Afterletting the visitors see the bear, and explaining possible scenarios of what may have happened, we loaded the carcassinto our truck, covered it with a tarp, and headed back to Mammoth.

We took the bear’s carcass to Neil Anderson at the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Wildlife Laboratory in Boze-

Black bear as found by river.

Hayden Valley landscape, a couple of miles upriver from where the black bear was found.




















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Mark Biel is the Field Biologist for Yellowstone NationalPark’s Bison Management Office. He assists in coordinatingbison research and monitoring in and around the park andis overseeing the vaccination approach study for the even-tual implementation of a bison brucellosis vaccination pro-gram within the park. Mark has worked for the NationalPark Service since 1993 in the Bear and then Bison Man-agement Offices. He received his B.S. in Animal Sciencewith minor studies in animal nutrition and equine manage-ment from Michi-gan State Universi-ty and his M.S. inanimal nutritionand equine exer-cise physiologyfrom the Universityof Illinois at C h a m p a i g n –Urbana. In hisspare time, Markenjoys horsebackriding, woodwork-ing, hiking, andfishing. He and hisfiance, Alice, livein Gardiner, Mon-tana.

Kerry Gunther is Yellowstone National Park’s Bear Manage-ment Biologist. He oversees bear-human conflict resolutionand bear research and monitoring throughout the park, andhas worked in YNP for 19 years. He has also worked in griz-zly and black bear research and management for the U.S.Forest Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Kerryholds a B.S. in biology with minor studies in earth sciencesfrom Northland College in Wisconsin, and an M.S. in Fish andWildlife Management from Montana State University. He has

published paperson bear manage-ment, bear-humanconflicts, bear-inflicted humaninjuries, impacts ofrecreation on griz-zly bears, and griz-zly bear predation.He is the recipientof the 1997 SigurdOlsen Environmen-tal AchievementAward. In his sparetime he enjoys pho-tographing polarbears in the arcticand sea kayaking inBaja.

man, Montana, for necropsy. Neil wasable to measure one set of caninepuncture marks he believed werecaused by the lower canines of thepredator that killed the black bear. Thecenter-to-center distance of thesecanine puncture marks measured 59mm, too large to have been from anadult wolf, mountain lion, or average-sized black bear. Measurements takenfrom reference skulls show that caninewidths in that range are typical of aver-age size, adult male grizzly bears inthe GYE, although we could not com-pletely rule out a very large adult maleblack bear as the predator. The identifi-cation of the predator that killed theblack bear as a grizzly (based on thecanine width of wounds found on theblack bear’s head) was later supportedthrough laboratory analysis of DNAextracted from the bear scats collectedat the kill site. We sent the scats to Dr.Lisette Waits at the University of

Idaho for analysis, and DNA extractedfrom the scats indicated that they were,in fact, from a grizzly bear.

When threatened, black bears typi-cally run to forest cover or climb a tree.In this case, the nearest climbable tree tothe site where the black bear was killedwas a single dead snag on a small islandin the middle of the Yellowstone Riverover 70 meters away. The nearestclimbable live trees were approximately130 meters away on the opposite shorefrom the bank where the black bear waskilled. The nearest climbable trees thatcould be reached without swimmingwere almost 1,000 meters northeast ofthe kill site. This observation lendsinsight into what can happen to blackbears that wander too far from forestcover in areas occupied by grizzly bears,and why we rarely see black bears in thelarge, non-forested areas of YNP such asPelican and Hayden Valleys, where griz-zly bears are common.

Head of mauled black bear.


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The Greater Yellowstone Ecosystemlost a friend, supporter, and scientificleader this summer, when Jay E. Ander-son, Professor Emeritus of Ecology atIdaho State University and a resident ofDriggs, Idaho, died suddenly and unex-pectedly of a stroke on July 4, 2002. Jaywas born in Logan, Utah, and grew up ona ranch in the Big Hole Valley of Mon-tana. He studied agriculture and educationat Montana State University (B.S. Agri-cultural Education), taught high school forfour years, then studied plant physiologyand ecology at Syracuse University(M.S., Ph.D. Plant Ecology). Hejoined the Biology Depart-ment of Idaho State Uni-versity in 1975 and wasa faculty memberthere for 26 years,retiring in June2001.

Jay was active inresearch, education,and scientific advise-ment for and in thegreater Yellowstone, Inter-mountain, and Pacific North-west regions. He conductedresearch primarily in the sagesteppe, shrubland, grassland,and forest ecosystems of West-ern North America, and alsospent three sabbaticals collaborating withAustralian colleagues on the ecology ofAustralian deserts and forests. His mainresearch areas were plant physiologicalecology, vegetation dynamics, and fireecology. He worked extensively within thesage-steppe ecosystems of the IdahoNational Engineering and EnvironmentalLaboratory, where his research includedphysiological ecology of plants’ use ofwater and nitrogen in photosynthesis; pat-terns and causes of long-term vegetationdynamics; and pioneering applications ofthese basic sciences to waste management.

He also co-edited a book on physiologicalecology of North American desert plants,and conducted several studies within Yel-lowstone National Park, includingresearch of the grazing ecosystem of thenorthern range and of the regeneration ofYellowstone’s forests following the firesof 1988.

Jay was committed to making scientif-ic information widely available to the pub-lic, so that ecological understanding couldinform land use decisions. He served on

many advisory panels for resource man-agement, including the Birds of Prey Tech-nical Review Committee, the ResourceAdvisory Council for the Upper SnakeRiver Districts, and the Advisory Com-mittee to the Idaho Falls District of theBureau of Land Management, and he wasa member of the Greater YellowstoneCoalition’s Science Council for manyyears. Jay received ISU’s DistinguishedResearcher Award in 1998 and, in 2001, hereceived the Outstanding Scientist awardfrom the Northwest Scientific Associationin recognition of the importance of his sci-

entific accomplishments to the PacificNorthwest

Jay was widely recognized as anexceptional teacher. He not only advisedand taught many undergraduate and grad-uate students and post-doctoralresearchers, but also was generous in pro-viding advice and support to colleagues,especially the many younger scientists thathe encouraged. He received the MasterTeacher award from Idaho State Universi-ty, as well as the Jerome Bigelow Awardfor his involvement of students in research.

He made many presentations to schoolclasses and civic organizations on

the Yellowstone fires and onvegetation dynamics and

grazing. Jay will be remem-

bered as a man wholoved his family andfriends, enjoyed hislife and work, and

both worked hard andplayed hard. He was an

avid and accomplishedskier, kayaker, cyclist, back

packer, and fly fisherman, andmany much younger colleagues

aspired to meet Jay’s standardsof physical and professionalaccomplishment, as well as hisenjoyment of life.

The Ecological Society of America hasestablished the Jay E. Anderson Endow-ment, which will honor Jay through spon-sorship of programs and projects that fur-ther his interests in and love of the ecosys-tems of the West and Pacific Northwest.Contributions to the Jay Anderson Endow-ment, which are tax-deductible, can besent to: Ecological Society of America,1707 H Street, NW, Suite 400, Washing-ton, D.C. 20006.

Nancy Huntly is a professor of ecology atIdaho State University.

Jay Anderson, ecologist and teacherby Nancy Huntly

Jay Anderson discusses ecology and land use with students atopSawtelle Peak in Idaho. Photo courtesy Nancy Huntly.

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J. David Love, geologist, died August23 in Laramie, Wyoming. He was born inRiverton on April 17, 1913, and lived inLander and then in Laramie, where in1933 he earned his bachelor’s degree ingeology and chemistry from the Universi-ty of Wyoming, followed by a Master’sdegree in 1934. After working for theWyoming State Geological Survey for twoyears, he was acceptedas a graduate student atYale University, wherehe received his doctor-ate in 1938.

David Love calledhis teacher, Universityof Wyoming geologist“Doc” Knight, “thegreat man of geology and the finest kind ofhuman being.” The student proved worthyof his teacher. He was employed by theUSGS and Shell Oil until 1940, when hereturned to the USGS until his 1987retirement as USGS scientist emeritusafter directing the USGS’s Wyoming

office for 44 years. His work encompassedresearch on strategic minerals during andafter World War II, established the USGSWyoming Fuels Branch, compiled the1955 and 1985 editions of Wyoming’sgeologic map and was chief author of the1992 Grand Teton National Park geologicmap and the 1993 chart correlating allWyoming geologic formations. Love

authored more than 250 geologic publica-tions, articles, and lectures as well as fam-ily-oriented stories and vignettes of hischildhood.

Love received a wide array of honorsthroughout his career as a geologist andhumanitarian. In 1981, the University of

Wyoming recog-nized Love as a Dis-tinguished Alumnus.The Wyoming Geo-logical Survey gavehim honorary mem-bership as well as itsDistinguished Ser-vice Award, andestablished a fieldgeology fellowshipin his name. He wonthe Interior Depart-ment’s Meritoriousand DistinguishedService Awards, andthe American Asso-ciation of Profes-sional Geologists’Public ServiceAward. He recentlyreceived the RungiusMedal from theNational Museum ofWildlife Art for hiscollective studies of

geologic formations and their influence onthe habitats of animals in the wild. Withhis wife, Jane, he was awarded the SilverMedal from the Jackson Hole Medal Asso-ciation for their gift of land to Teton Coun-ty for affordable housing.

Dave Love, however, was more thanthe sum of his publications and awards.He was a friend and mentor to geologists

(as the advisor for 140Master’s theses and 50doctoral dissertations),writers, and young peoplefrom around the world.The story of his life wasprovocative enough as tohave captured the imagina-tion of John McPhee, who

made Love, his ancestors, and theirWyoming ranch the subject of his RisingFrom the Plains (1986). In that work,McPhee called Love “an autochthonousgeologist. The term refers to a rock thathas not moved…To be sure, experiencehad come to him beyond the borders—aYale Ph.D., explorations for oil in thesouthern Appalachians and the mid-conti-nent—but his career had been accom-plished almost wholly in his home terrain.For several decades now, he had beenregarded by colleagues as one of the two orthree most influential field geologists inthe Survey, and, in recent time, inevitably,as ‘the grand old man of Rocky Mountain geology.’”

Dr. Love is survived by his wife, fourchildren, seven grandchildren, and theenduring landscape to which he devotedhis professional life. Memorial gifts maybe made to any of the following: The J.David Love Field Scholarship, WyomingGeological Association, c/o Kent Sundell,5034 Alcova Rte. Box 12, Casper, WY82604; The Museum of the AmericanWest, 636 Lincoln, Lander, WY 82520;The University of Wyoming GeologicalMuseum, Box 3006, Laramie, WY 82071;or the Laramie Plains Museum, 603 Ivin-son Ave., Laramie, WY 82070.

Dave Love, “grand old man of Rocky Mountain geology”

Dave and Jane Love.







His breadth of knowledge on all manner of naturalhistory—geology, botany, wildlife, archeology, andhistory—was inspiring.

–former student Dr. Cathy Whitlock

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Boyd Evison, beloved National ParkService leader for more than 40 years and,more recently, the Executive Director ofthe Grand Teton Natural History Associa-tion, died in California on October 4. Evi-son was one of the greatest and most influ-ential leaders of the modern NPS. He ded-icated his career to conservation, environ-mental education, and courageous leader-ship in the field of natural resource pro-tection, touched the lives of thousands ofNPS employees, and influenced the over-all management of the entire national parksystem.

Evison, a native of Washington, D.C.,earned his B.S. in forestry and wildlifemanagement from Colorado A&M in1954. In 1968, he earned a Master’s degreein environmental communications fromthe University of Wisconsin at Madison.He began working seasonally with theNational Park Service in 1952 as a firecontrol aide in Grand Teton National Park.

Evison moved into the permanentranks in 1960 as a park ranger in PetrifiedForest National Park. He subsequentlyserved in Lake Mead National RecreationArea and Hot Springs National Parkbefore being accepted into the Departmentof the Interior’s Management Develop-ment Program in Washington D.C.

In 1971, he returned to Grand Teton asassistant superintendent, but was tooimpressive a voice for conservation toremain undiscovered in one place. In thecoming years he was tapped to be superin-tendent of Saguaro National Monumentand the Horace Albright Training Center inGrand Canyon National Park.

In 1975, Evison was named superin-tendent of Great Smoky MountainsNational Park, where the European wildboar, a non-native species living in thepark, was multiplying in such great num-bers that the damage to resources wasextensive. Evison boldly contracted forout-of-state hog hunters to come in andcontrol the problem, which set off a furorof local opposition. His refusal to backdown resulted in the ongoing reductionprogram that continues to this day. He also

led a cutting-edge science program thatbegan his career-long efforts to promotethe use of parks as laboratories for study.

In 1978 Evison became AssistantDirector for Park Operations in Washing-ton D.C. He was then offered the positionof NPS Director, but chose instead to go toSequoia and Kings Canyon National Parksas superintendent in 1980. In 1985, Evisonmoved to Alaska where he became region-al director and faced the biggest challengeof his career when the Exxon Valdez oilspill occurred. His heroic and steadfastsupport for his superintendents during thecleanup and for years afterward asresources damage assessments wentthrough the legal process distinguish himin the annals of NPS history. In 1991 Evi-son left for Denver to serve as deputyregional director in the Rocky MountainRegion until he was asked to serve as inter-im superintendent of Grand CanyonNational Park during a period crucial tothe completion of the general managementplan from 1993 to November 1994. Duringthis time he was instrumental in develop-ing a rationale for setting the use numberswithin the Colorado River ManagementPlan—numbers that continue to set the

standard to this day. He also became per-sonally involved in the issue of air qualityand soundscape management, an interestthat continued as he participated afterretirement in the National Parks OverflightWorking Group.

Evison retired from the National ParkService in 1994, providing time for himand his wife, Barbara to do the travelingthey always enjoyed. But in 1999 theTetons beckoned yet again, when Evisonbecame Executive Director of the GrandTeton Natural History Association. He iscredited with expanding scientific andeducational outreach opportunitiesthrough the work of the association as wellas enhancing the long-standing partnershipwith the NPS, the U.S. Fish and WildlifeService, and the U.S. Forest Service.

Evison received many accolades andprestigious awards throughout his NPScareer and professional life, including theDepartment of the Interior’s highestaward, the Distinguished Service Award;the National Parks Conservation Associa-tion’s Mather Award; and the NationalPark Foundation’s Pugsley Award. He wasrecently awarded the George MelendezWright Award for lifetime achievement bythe George Wright Society.

Boyd is survived by his beloved wife,Barbara, who has shared his career as atrue partner, along with their son, Chris,and daughter, Kathy. The family alsoincludes son-in-law Randy Katz anddaughter-in-law Lauren. During the lastfew years, one of Boyd’s greatest joys hasbeen being a grandfather to Joe and SarahKatz.

In honor of Boyd, the family and theGrand Teton Natural History Associationhave established a Boyd Evison GraduateFellowship to encourage scientific andconservation research in the nationalparks. Memorial donations may be madeto the Boyd Evison Graduate Fellowship,c/o Grand Teton Natural History Associa-tion, P.O. Box 170, Moose WY, 83012.Cards may be sent to Barbara Evison, c/oRandy and Kathy Katz, 615 Walden Drive,Beverly Hills, CA 90210.

Boyd Evison, beloved NPS leader
















Boyd Evison.

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28 Yellowstone Science

Experimental Animal Detection DriverWarning System Installed

An experimental animal detection sys-tem that warns travelers about wildlifeapproaching a roadway was recentlyinstalled on a section of U.S. Highway 191(between mileposts 28–29 in the BlackButte area) in Yellowstone National Park.The system was designed by the WesternTransportation Institute (Montana StateUniversity) and Sensor Technologies andSystems, Inc. This is part of a two-yearstudy funded by 15 state Departments ofTransportation, including the MontanaDepartment of Transportation, to look atways to reduce and mitigate the impactsassociated with animal-vehicle collisions(e.g., human injuries/fatalities, wildlifeinjuries/fatalities, property damage).

As wildlife approach the roadway inthe study area, a continuous radar beam isbroken, and flashing lights on warningsigns are activated, warning drivers of thepossible presence of wildlife. The systemis only activated by large wildlife likebison, elk, deer, and moose.

Alaska Quake Seems to Trigger Yellowstone Jolts

The magnitude 7.9 earthquake thatrocked Alaska on November 4 apparentlytriggered scores of earthquakes here in Yel-lowstone, some 2,000 miles away. By 8:30a.m. on that day, about 17 hours after theAlaskan quake, more than 200 small earth-quakes had been detected occurring inclusters throughout the Yellowstone area.The quakes were recorded by the Yellow-stone seismic network operated by theUniversity of Utah Seismograph Stations.

Clusters of small earthquakes in timeand space are common in Yellowstone.However, the clusters of Yellowstoneearthquakes following the Alaskan main-shock extended across much of the parkand were not concentrated in a single loca-tion.

The smallest events were of magnitudeless than 0, and the largest of about mag-nitude 2.5. NPS rangers at Old Faithfuland Canyon Village reported feeling some

of the earthquakes.While the data are preliminary, they

suggest that the Yellowstone earthquakesmay have been triggered by the passageof large seismic waves generated by theAlaskan earthquake. The apparent trigger-ing is suggested by the fact the Yellow-stone activity began within a half hour ofthe Alaska earthquake, which hit at 3:12p.m. MST Nov. 3 (1:12 p.m. local time inAlaska).

Scientists once believed that an earth-quake at one location could not triggerearthquakes at distant sites. But that beliefwas shattered in 1992 when the magnitude7.3 Landers earthquake in California’sMojave Desert triggered a swarm ofquakes more than 800 miles away at Yel-lowstone, as well as other jolts near Mam-moth Lakes, California, and Yucca Moun-tain, Nevada.

2003 GWS Conference Announced

On April 14–18, 2003, the GeorgeWright Society and National Park Servicewill co-sponsor “Protecting Our DiverseHeritage: The Role of Parks, ProtectedAreas, and Cultural Sites” in San Diego,California. This meeting will incorporatetwo of the country’s leading conferences

on parks and cultural sites: The GeorgeWright Society Biennial Conference andCultural Resources 2003, the NationalPark Service’s flagship cultural resourcesconference.

The conference is scheduled to includefour plenary sessions, 90 concurrent ses-sions, and a poster/computer demo/exhib-it session, as well as workshops, specialevents, and field trips. The conference pro-ceedings will be published. For informa-tion on attending the conference, go or con-tact The George Wright Society, P.O. Box65, Hancock, Michigan 49930-0065 USA;1-(906)-487-9722; fax 1-(906)-487-9405;[email protected].

Wondrak Wins MHS Award

The Montana Historical Society andMontana: The Magazine of Western His-tory named YCR’s Alice Wondrak the winner of this year’s Burlingame-Tooleaward, given each year to the author of thebest articlesubmitted bya graduatestudent. Theaward waspresented atthe annualmeeting ofthe MontanaHistoricalSociety inHavre onOctober 25.Alice’s winning submission, “Wrestlingwith Horace Albright: Edmund Rogers,Visitors, and Bears in Yellowstone,” isbeing published in Montana: The Maga-zine of Western History in two parts, begin-ning in Autumn 2002.

Yellowstone Film Earns High Honorsfor Locals

“Yellowstone: America’s SacredWilderness,” a one-hour film first broad-cast on PBS in January 2001, has broughtimportant recognition to three people inthe Yellowstone region. The film, part of

NEWS notes

The animal detection system should beoperational in December 2002.


Alice Wondrak.


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Fall 2002 29

PBS’s “The Living Edens” series, was co-produced by filmmakers Hugh Miles, ofWimborne, Dorset, England, and ShaneMoore, of Jackson, Wyoming, with addi-tional filming done by veteran Yellowstonefilmmaker Bob Landis, of Gardiner, Mon-tana. YCR writer Paul Schullery wrote thescript and narrated the film.

In September 2001, thefilm won the Best Cine-matography award at theJackson Hole Wildlife FilmFestival in Jackson,Wyoming, where it out-competed 650 other films.In November 2001, thefilm won the Grand Prize atthe Banff Mountain FilmFestival in Banff, Alberta,Canada, as the best of the250 films competing. InOctober 2002, at the bien-nial Wildscreen 2002 FilmFestival in Bristol, England,Paul Schullery won the “panda” (as Wild-screen’s awards are known) award for bestscript. “Yellowstone’s” co-producer, HughMiles, was awarded the Wildscreen festi-val’s highest award, the panda for Out-standing Achievement. The Wildscreencompetition is regarded as the most presti-gious in the nature film world; its pandasare often referred to as the “green Oscars.”

“Yellowstone: America’s SacredWilderness” is still occasionally rebroad-cast on PBS. Copies of the film may beordered from the Yellowstone Associationthrough their web site at

FSEIS Released to Cooperators

On November 12, 2002, the InternalReview Draft of the Supplemental WinterUse EIS was released to the States andCounties serving as Cooperating Agencieswith the National Park Service. Details ofthe preferred alternative will be presentedto the public in the Final SEIS on February19, 2003. The framework, as well as thedetails, are a package, with all componentsinextricably linked. The principal compo-nents of the package are: reducing num-bers of snowmobiles through daily limits;implementing Best Available Technology

requirements; implementing an adaptivemanagement program; requiring thataccess is guided; ensuring that phase-in isreasonable and shared with the communi-ties; developing a new generation of snow-coaches as a key to winter transportation;and ensuring that funding is available for

implementation.Daily Limits: Snowmo-

bile numbers could increaseor decrease slightly over theexisting historic average.Peak use would be dramati-cally reduced, and some usewould be directed awayfrom the heavily impactedWest Yellowstone to OldFaithful corridor. Total actu-al average daily use wouldbe capped at the historicalaverage for West Entranceand allow for minor growthand redistribution of use atthe other entrances. Initial

snowmobile daily limits are: NorthEntrance (Mammoth Terraces),50; WestEntrance, 550; East Entrance, 100; SouthEntrance, 250; Continental SnowmobileDivide Trail, 75; and Grassy Lake Road,75. Total: 1,100.

Best Available Technology: Best Avail-able Technology (BAT) would ensure thatoversnow vehicles are the cleanest andquietest possible under today’s technology.For the winter of 2003/2004 NPS wouldset BAT as any snowmobile that is capableof reducing hydrocarbon emissions by 90% and carbon monoxide emissions by70%.

Adaptive Management: Specific stan-dards would be set for each winter man-agement zone. The SEIS will prescribemonitoring standards, methods and man-agement actions for critical resources inwinter management Zone 3, (where snow-mobiles and snowcoaches will travel). Foreach indicator, a standard either exists or ishypothesized (for adaptive management).Each indicator and monitoring method andintensity is prescribed. Managementactions are implemented if the standardsare exceeded. The NPS will establish an“open forum” strategy for the dissemina-tion of monitoring results, technical

expertise, monitoring techniques andresults of peer review.

Guided Access: Training will berequired for both commercial and non-commercial guides. Guides will be trainedto avoid conflict with wildlife. The modelwill be tested during the phase-in periodstarting with 20% non-commercially guid-ed use, including a training program forcertification. Adaptive management tech-niques would be applied as experience isgained to adjust numbers within the limitsas appropriate.

Phase-in: These components would beimplemented over the course of two tothree winter use seasons to allow commu-nities, permittees, visitors, and conces-sioners time to adapt.

Year 1 (2003/2004): Implement dailylimits; begin comprehensive monitoringprogram; require commercially-guidedoperations to be BAT; encourage rentalsand private snowmobiles to be BAT; com-plete concession contracting for commer-cially guided operations; establish train-ing program for non-commercial guides;propose changes for following winter.

Year 2 (2004/2005): Retain daily lim-its; continue comprehensive monitoringprogram; require all snowmobile entriesto be guided (80%/20%); require all snow-mobile entries to be BAT; propose changesfor following winter.

Year 3 (2005/2006): Implementchanges, if required with regard to guid-ing, BAT, limits, monitoring program,hours of operation, etc.

Snowcoach Development: Continue tosupport and help fund the current researchand development for new snowcoach tech-nology; support exploration of ways tofund purchase of an initial fleet of newsnowcoach vehicles through DOE, DOT,and FHWA grants; require all snowcoach-es must meet BAT standards.

Funding: The National Park Service isseeking operational funding as well asone-time funds to focus on enhanced win-ter operations, to implement a comprehen-sive monitoring program, to replace equip-ment, and to continue with research anddevelopment of the next generation ofsnowcoaches.

NEWS notes

The award-winning video.

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