Arrangements Pending for Victim of Shooting

September 12, 2013 by · Comments Off on Arrangements Pending for Victim of Shooting 

Ella Marie Tucker (2010-2013)

The Wilks Funeral Home in Chubbuck, Idaho, is handling arrangements for Ella Marie Tucker, 3, who died on Saturday (Sept. 7) from a self-inflicted gunshot wound while camping in Yellowstone National Park, the Idaho State Journal, Pocatello, reported.

Ella Marie was the daughter of Stuart and Nicole Tucker of Pocatelo. They survive along with a younger brother, Dylan Webster Tucker, and her grandparents, Scott and Brenda Tucker and Keith and Nancy Lords.

Ella Marie was born Feb. 25, 2010, in Rexburg, Idaho.

Further arrangements are pending.

Click here to read her obituary in the Idaho State Journal.

Condolences may be sent to Ella’s family online at



Yellowstone’s Shooting Victim from Pocatello

September 10, 2013 by · Comments Off on Yellowstone’s Shooting Victim from Pocatello 

Ella Marie Tucker of Pocatello, Idaho, has been identified as the victim of a fatal shooting on Saturday (Sept. 7) at the Grant Village Campground (on left side of map) in Yellowstone National Park. Map courtesy of National Park Service

The toddler killed Saturday (Sept. 7) by a gunshot in Yellowstone National Park was identified Monday as Ella Marie Tucker, of Pocatello, Idaho, but exact details of the shooting remained withheld by park officials, National Parks Traveler reported.

A five-paragraph release from the park said that while rangers were alerted to the incident by a woman at the Grant Village Campground who called 911 to report her daughter had “just shot herself with a handgun,” it added that rangers and Park Service special agents “continue to investigate the circumstances surrounding the Saturday morning incident.”

The 3-year-old’s death was the first gun-related fatality of a Yellowstone visitor in 35 years.

Click here to read the entire story.



Latest Briefs from RV Parks and Campgrounds

September 9, 2013 by · Comments Off on Latest Briefs from RV Parks and Campgrounds 

A view of the mudslide that enveloped several vehicles in a park in Washington. Photo courtesy of the National Park Service


From KOMO-TV, Seattle:

A massive mud slide triggered by Thursday night’s (Sept. 5) rain storm swallowed a parking area, buried cars and damaged several buildings near the mouth of Imus Creek near Stehekin in Chelan County.

According to officials from the North Cascades National Park, the rock and mud slide hit late Thursday night. Nobody was injured, but the slide dragged a number of bikes into Lake Chelan and filled a National Parks Service shed with mud and rocks.

Several other buildings, including a storage shed at the Lake House, were also damaged. Discovery Bikes and Stehekin Reservations and Fly Fish Shop were also damaged in the slide, according to parks officials.

National park employees and local residents spent much of Friday clearing the road, and by Saturday morning they were able to partially open it to shuttle service and the public.

Bicycle rentals are temporarily suspended, shuttle buses are operating as passage through the site is allowed. NPS boats have been shuttling people around the slide area to ensure pedestrian safety.

The Imus Trail is closed to public use pending a safety assessment, trail repair and bridge replacement.


From The Associated Press:

A wildfire burning in a San Francisco Bay Area wilderness park led to the evacuation of several dozen homes Sunday.

The blaze broke out amid temperatures near triple digits in early afternoon on the edge of Mount Diablo State Park in Contra Costa County about 15 miles northeast of San Francisco, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said in a statement.

By nightfall it had surged to 800 acres, state fire officials said, spewing a plume of smoke visible for miles around and leading to the evacuation of 50 to 75 homes in Clayton, a town of about 11,000 people alongside the park.


From the Casper Star-Tribune:

Yellowstone National Park officials reported on Friday (Sept. 6) that two campgrounds reopened on the Yellowstone Promontory Peninsula after being closed because of the Druid Complex Fire. Fire activity was light in the park, according to a news release, but the Alum Fire is reported to be smoldering close to the corridor between Mud Volcano and Fishing Bridge.

Fire managers took a reconnaissance flight late Friday to see if there are any public safety concerns in the areas that have no easy access from highways in Yellowstone.


From the Utica Observer-Dispatch:

The spaces for recreational vehicles at the Ilion Marina and RV Park in Ilion will be a little wider by next summer.

Harbormaster Don Sterling told the village board RV users had asked if the width of the spaces could be enlarged by 2 feet because many of the RVs have awnings on the side.

Sterling said the spaces were marked out in the early 1990s when RVs didn’t have the awnings. He proposed eliminating Site No. 1, which is 13 feet wide and taking the rest of the needed space from Site No. 16.

Site No. 1 usually is used only for parking anyway, he said.

The work could be done in the spring.

The village board approved the recommendation.


From the Lakeland Ledger:

The 450-acre Historic Fort Meade Outpost park proposed along the Peace River is to be built where the city’s Outdoor Recreation Area is now, but it will be much larger, said Glenn Clover, the city’s planning consultant on the project. Preliminary plans call for an equestrian center, fishing, a nature trail, a 105-space recreational vehicle park and a replica of the original fort that gave the city its name.

A Sept. 5 workshop where plans were aired was part of a U.S. Department of Agriculture grant to determine whether the park can sustain itself once it’s built.

City Manager Fred Hilliard told those attending the workshop that the city would retain ownership of the land, but would lease it to those operating businesses in the park, including the RV park and the equestrian center.

“We could lease the park and make revenue from it,” he said, “but we wouldn’t be in the day-to-day operations at all.”

City Commissioner Bob Elliott said he thinks the RV park has the most potential for the project.

“I think it needs to be much larger,” he said. “The potential there is endless.”




Child Killed with Dad’s Gun in Yellowstone N.P.

September 9, 2013 by · Comments Off on Child Killed with Dad’s Gun in Yellowstone N.P. 

A typical campsite at Grant Village Campground in Yellowstone Natoonal Park where a 3-year-old girl fatally shot herself with her father’s pistol on Saturday (Sept. 7). Photo courtesy of TripAdvisor

The first child to die from gunfire in Yellowstone National Park in three-quarters of a century was a 3-year-old girl killed over the weekend by a bullet shot from her father’s handgun at a popular lakeside campsite, park officials said on Sunday (Sept. 8).

Little information was released by authorities about the toddler’s death since her mother called emergency dispatchers on Saturday to report that her daughter had shot herself at the Grant Village Campground on the shores of Yellowstone Lake, Reuters reported.

Emergency personnel were unable to resuscitate the child, whose name was being withheld until today at the request of the family, who are from Idaho, park spokesman Al Nash said.

The death comes three years after enactment of a federal law that lifted a decades-old ban on the possession of firearms by visitors to most national parks, including Yellowstone.

It marks the first fatal shooting in Yellowstone since 1978, and the first shooting death of a child in the park since 1938, when the 13-year-old son of the park’s master mechanic accidentally shot himself in the head with a rifle, Nash said.

A portion of the forested campsite where the shooting occurred remained cordoned off on Sunday as Yellowstone rangers and special agents with the National Park Service continued their investigation of an incident that Nash described as “the kind of thing that isn’t supposed to happen here.”

Park officials revealed the girl’s age on Sunday and said the weapon was a pistol that belonged to her father.

Authorities have declined to say whether investigators believe the shooting was accidental or deliberate.

The Grant Village campground in Yellowstone, which spans nearly 3,500 square miles of Wyoming, Montana and Idaho, sits in the Wyoming section of the park near a developed area that contains a ranger station, lodge, shower facilities and other amenities.

Grant Village Campground where a little girl was fatally shot over the weekend is located on the West Thumb of Yellowstone Lake. Map courtesy of National Park Service

It remains unlawful in most national parks including Yellowstone, celebrated for natural wonders like the Old Faithful Geyser and for an abundance of wildlife such as bison, elk and grizzly bears, to hunt or to fire a gun.

The legislation allowing visitors to carry guns in the parks was tacked on to a credit card bill passed by Congress in 2009 and signed into law by President Barack Obama.

The measure was backed by gun-rights proponents like the National Rifle Association, but opposed by groups representing park rangers and retired National Park Service employees.

Supporters said it would provide uniformity to a patchwork of firearms regulations that allowed guns in public lands overseen by the U.S. Forest Service and federal Bureau of Land Management, but not in national parks and wildlife refuges.

Opponents said the law would heighten risks for visitors and park employees, embolden poachers and complicate prosecution of wildlife crimes.



Yellowstone N.P.’s Visitation #s Mixed for July

August 30, 2013 by · Comments Off on Yellowstone N.P.’s Visitation #s Mixed for July 

Americans value their natural resources, such as Yellowstone National Park’s Old Faithful.

Visitation numbers in Yellowstone National Park saw a slight dip for the month of July. However, vehicle numbers were up and the park had nearly as many people visit the park last month as in the previous six months of 2013 combined, West Yellowstone News reported.

In July, the park had 812,212 recreational visits, compared to 888,335 in 2012, which is 8.57% lower than last year at this time. Vehicle traffic saw an increase of 2.68% with a total of 291,500 recreational automobiles and RV’s, compared to 283,898 in 2012.

According to Yellowstone spokesman Dan Hottle, visitation numbers haven’t really changed all that much, and the minor changes in the figures are contributed to the park changing their person-per-vehicle multiplier from 2.91 persons-per-vehicle down to 2.58 this year.

“It means we really haven’t changed since last year because we used to have a different multiplier and it’s calculated differently,” Hottle said. “We’re still on about the same track as the last five years. We’ve been pretty across the board with over 3 million visitors (annually).”

The park has been using the same multiplier for nearly 20 years, and after conducting surveys at each of the park’s entrances last year they decided the multiplier needed to be lowered. Based on their results from the survey they found that on average, fewer people were entering the park in the same vehicle.

Hottle says June, July and August are the park’s busiest months historically, and that visitation numbers generally start to drop around Aug. 15 for American national visitors, as summer vacation ends and children are heading back to school. International and older visitors typically keep numbers steady into September, but numbers start to drop off by a considerable amount after that point.

“We’re starting to have things close in the park and we can write off big visitation by mid-September,” he said. “Around the first week of September we start having dock rentals and some campgrounds close. RV parks and outdoor visitor activities start to close around mid-September.”

The park spokesman says the park visitation drops from 15,000 to 20,000 visitors a day down to around 8,000 in the fall, and that they can usually project their total visitation for the year by that point.

When it comes to beating the large crowds in the park, Hottle recommends travelers visit the park in the shoulder seasons to have a less crowded experience in Yellowstone. The shoulder seasons of Yellowstone are May through June and September through October.

“You aren’t fighting the crowds but some places are closed at that time, but the flipside is low crowds,” he said.

Hottle says coming in the shoulder seasons means the possibility of cold, snowy weather rolling into the park, so visitors should come prepared for unpredictable conditions.

“I tell people to have a good backup plan for their vacation and a good set of backup clothes,” he noted.

For those planning a quieter visit to Yellowstone, remember to come early or late in the summer season, and pack a wide variety of both summer and cold weather apparel.

200 Battling Yellowstone ‘Druid Complex’ Fire

August 23, 2013 by · Comments Off on 200 Battling Yellowstone ‘Druid Complex’ Fire 

Hundreds of firefighters were battling five different wildfires in Yellowstone National Park on Thursday. This line crew was heading out to the Alum Fire on Wednesday. NPS photo courtesy of National Parks Traveler.

More than 200 firefighters on Thursday (Aug. 22) were battling five wildfires that covered more than 11,000 acres in Yellowstone National Park, and received some help from cooler, wetter weather, National Parks Traveler reported.

Combined, the five lightning-sparked blazes were being managed as the Druid Complex.

Click here to read the entire story from National Parks Traveler.



Current Briefs for RV Parks and Campgrounds

August 21, 2013 by · Comments Off on Current Briefs for RV Parks and Campgrounds 


From National Parks Traveler:

A 7 1/2-mile stretch of the Grand Loop Road in Yellowstone National Park was closed indefinitely Tuesday (Aug. 20) due to growth of the Alum Fire burning near the Mud Volcano area, park officials said.

Out of concern for public safety, the road was closed from Fishing Bridge Junction to the South Rim Drive of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. Officials initially said a 13-mile stretch of road would be closed, but shortly thereafter decided to close just 7 1/2 miles.

Click here to read the entire story from National Parks Traveler.


From KOTA-TV, Scottsbluff:

The city of Scottsbluff is using keno funds to help make improvements to Riverside Campground.

City council members approved nearly $10,000 for park improvements.

The first step is to pay for new signage around the park.

The city is also looking to upgrade the electrical capacity at the campground.

An increase in use during parties and events has proven that the current electrical system does not have the capacity to meet the current demand.

“We have found out over time that what we have just isn’t sufficient,” explains Parks and Recreation Director Perry Mader, “which is kind of a blessing because we know our numbers down there are up, as we keep putting some of these upgrades in.”

The city will now bid out the electrical job to local contractors and the job should be completed in the coming months.


From the Beckley Register-Herald:

The New River Gorge National River plans to open its new flagship campground to the public in the early summer of 2014.

The Meadow Creek Campground, located on the banks of the New River about two miles downstream of the Sandstone Visitor Center, will offer visitors a variety of individual campsite types and one large group camping site.

Amenities will electric hook-ups at all campsites, water hookups at some campsites, communal water spigots, vault toilets and a camp host. An amphitheater for park interpretive programs and a public boat launch will serve both campers and the general public.

The campsites — four walk-in tent-only sites, 17 drive-in car sites and five drive-in RV sites — in the first phase of development at this new facility will provide expanded amenities to visitors.

Click here to read the entire story.


Yellowstone N.P. Wildfires Scorch 4,000 Acres

August 20, 2013 by · Comments Off on Yellowstone N.P. Wildfires Scorch 4,000 Acres 

Flames from the Alum Fire overwhelm woodlands in Yellowstone National Park. Photo courtesy of the National Park Service and National Parks Traveler.

Hot, dry conditions are feeding wildfires in Yellowstone National Park, some of which have grown by thousands of acres in just two days and were threatening a section of the Grand Loop Road on Monday (Aug. 19), National Parks Traveler reported.

The Alum Fire, which had been sparked by lightning to the west of Mud Volcano on Aug. 14 had been burning across just three acres until Saturday, when it exploded across some 3,000 acres.

On Sunday, it spread to another 1,000 acres, park officials said Monday. The fire perimeter was within a mile of the Grand Loop Road south of Mud Volcano and park officials said there was the potential for temporary closures of the road between Canyon Village and Fishing Bridge Junction.

Overall, three major fires in the park have grown under the hot, dry, gusty conditions of the past four days.

“All three fires produced tall smoke columns visible for several miles in all directions. In addition, smoke from fires outside the park to the north and west in Montana and Idaho also contributed to occasionally hazy conditions at some locations at times during (Sunday),” a park release said.

Click here to read the entire story



Four Hurt in Separate Bear Attacks in the West

August 16, 2013 by · Comments Off on Four Hurt in Separate Bear Attacks in the West 

A mother bear injured two hikers on Thursday near Canyon Village (near center of map above) in Yellowstone National Park.

Two separate grizzly bear attacks Thursday (Aug. 15) left four people with non-life threatening injuries, ABC News reported.

The attacks took place just west of Island Park Reservoir in Idaho and Cygnet Lakes Trail, southwest of Canyon Village trail in Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming.

In Idaho, two private contractors doing habitat assessment work were unknowingly near a bear sleeping behind a tree.

A bear charged at one of the men and bit him in the thigh and the backside, knocking him down, Gregg Losinski of Idaho Fish and Game told ABC News. The other man then tried to spray the bear as he was charging at him, but the bear attacked both of the man’s hands.

The men managed to escape and other workers helped to transport them to Madison Memorial Hospital in Rexburg, Idaho, Losinski said.

According to a hospital nurse, the men suffered treatable but substantial injuries.

“The biggest worry is infection, as bears do not have clean teeth,” Losinski said.

The second attack Thursday involved a mother bear defending her cub, according to the National Parks Service.

“When we have hikers that come upon grizzlies and they have a cub, the first thing the mother’s going to do is try to defend those cubs,” Yellowstone spokesman Dan Hottle told ABC News Radio.

A group of four people hiking in Yellowstone saw an approaching grizzly bear cub around 11:30 a.m., the parks service said. A sow grizzly then appeared and attacked two of the hikers, leaving them with bite and claw wounds. They managed to escape when the unharmed hikers discharged canisters of bear spray, scaring away the sow and her cub.

“They were following all the directions that we encourage people to do when they’re in the back country, which is hike in groups, carry pepper spray and make noise on the trail,” Hottle said. “Unfortunately, a mother with cubs in the park is the most dangerous animal we have.”

All four members of the group were able to walk out of the trailhead, according to the parks service. One person was treated at the scene, while the second hiker was transported to a hospital by ambulance.

“It could have just been that they surprised her, walked up on her,” Hottle said. “The first she’s going to do is have her claws out and be ready, so it’s lucky that they escaped the way that they did without serious injury.”


’50-Cabin Complex’ near Yellowstone Natl. Park

August 9, 2013 by · Comments Off on ’50-Cabin Complex’ near Yellowstone Natl. Park 

Exterior view of some of the new Explorer Cabins at Yellowstone

Delaware North Cos. Parks & Resorts has added to its hospitality portfolio near Yellowstone National Park by developing a series of self-catering cabins that just opened.

Dubbed the “Explorer Cabins at Yellowstone,” the 50-cabin complex is at attracting tourists who want to combine rustic ambiance with modern amenities, Business First of Buffalo reported.

Buffalo-based Delaware North decided to move ahead with the project to take advantage of the “cabineering” trend that’s taking place around Yellowstone and other, major national parks. Cabineering provides home-like comforts and perks but in more remote destinations. The development represents a multi-million investment by Delaware North.

Designed in three different models — the Montana, Old Faithful and Yellowstone, the cabins include such amenities as working fireplace, private bathrooms, free Wi-Fi, flat screen HDTVs, cable, wireless phone service and modern kitchenettes. Some of the cabins are also “dog-friendly.”

Yellowstone related artwork from local, Montana-based artists are in every cabin.

“These cabins are an exciting concept,” said Rick Abramson, Delaware North Cos. Parks & Resorts president. “Our guests can immerse themselves in the natural beauty of Yellowstone while enjoying access to technology, modern conveniences and hotel amenities.”

Abramson said the cabins are in clusters of 10 spread over five different “camp” locations – each named after early Yellowstone pioneers and explorers. One cluster, the Washburn, includes dog-friendly cabins.

Delaware North has developed 10 Montana Cabins that can house up to four people, another 10 Old Faithful Cabins that can also house up to four people and 30 Yellowstone Cabins that can handle up to six people.

The Explorer Cabins are Delaware North’s first new development near Yellowstone since acquiring the Yellowstone Park Hotel six years ago. Delaware North also owns and operates the Gray Wolf Inn and Holiday Inn West Yellowstone near the park.

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