Dear Northern Range friends and aficionados! You may have heard Yellowstone is partially reopen as part of a larger effort to allow safe visitation during the coronavirus pandemic. However -- for those of us who love the Lamar Valley, Tower Fall, and the colorful terraces of Mammoth Hot Springs – we’ll have to wait a bit longer as only the Lower Loop and South and East entrances are currently open.
Photo Courtesy of Jean Modesette
That doesn’t mean you can’t appreciate Nature’s Favorite Entrance to Yellowstone National Park from a distance. In fact, spring is evident all around the North Entrance community of Gardiner, Montana: Cow elk, heavy with calves, lounge in front yards. Herds of bison with tawny “red dogs” (a local name for baby bison) wander the streets. Songbirds flit noisily through trees, and the unmistakable call of the western meadowlark reverberates from surrounding sagebrush. From the front window of the Gardiner Chamber of Commerce on Park Street, we can watch the green grass grow up the slopes of Mount Everts as the snow recedes from Bunsen Peak. Click here to see our view from the North Entrance webcam.
We don’t mean to tease you by mentioning the beautiful scenery awaiting you here at Yellowstone, but rather to share ways to enjoy and support the North Entrance until your arrival. Below are some ideas we’ve developed on how to experience Gardiner, Yellowstone, and the Northern Range -- from wherever you are sheltering during the pandemic:
Watch a Video
Our video gallery has wonderful footage of spring in Yellowstone (prepare for cute baby animals), the four seasons of the park, and bison running over the bridge downtown Gardiner. One of our personal favorites is this marvelous video showcasing the outdoor recreation opportunities along the Northern Range from the northern gateway communities of Gardiner, Cook City, and Silvergate, Montana.
View – or Purchase – a Photograph
Our photo gallery has beautiful pictures of a snowcapped Electric Peak, which towers over town. Other pictures include the historic Roosevelt Arch, though which you drive on your way into Yellowstone, and the Yellowstone River as it courses its way through the middle of our community.
For those who would like to decorate their home consider purchasing a wildlife photograph from Yellowstone Guide. Their website features riveting scenes of wolves fighting over dominance, moose breathing in cold mountain air, and badgers showing off intimidation skills. Yellowstone Wild The Gallery also sells professional-quality wildlife photographs as well as images of famous area landscapes like the Lower Falls of the Yellowstone River, Grand Prismatic Spring, and Old Faithful Geyser.
Learn about Yellowstone Online
George Bumann, of George Bumann Sculpture, and co-owner of A Yellowstone Life is currently enrolling students through June 1 for an online course called “Eavesdrop on Animal Conversations: Decoding the Secrets of Animal Language for Ultimate Wildlife Encounters.” The National Park Service, too, offers distance learning on their web page on topics ranging from water quality, to human history, to the Yellowstone volcano, to the park’s signature mammal – the American bison.
Join a Yellowstone-focused Facebook Group
For broad, educational posts regarding the park, its history, and current happenings try the Facebook group for Yellowstone National Park or its nonprofit partner Yellowstone Forever. For more focused information, Yellowstone Birding includes recent bird sightings and the Geyser Discussion Board keeps tabs on favorites like Old Faithful and Steamboat geysers. Yellowstone Unfiltered offers a chance to post and view pictures and videos of Yellowstone’s wildlife, landscapes, and other scenery. Instagram, Twitter, and other social media outlets are also great ways to stay in touch with what is moving and shaking around the park.
Treat Yourself to High-End Yellowstone Retail
Yellowstone Gallery and Frameworks offers beautiful artwork including limited-edition prints, photographs, paintings, and jewelry including a pendent made out of elk antler.
standing protectively over her calf, a stately bison scull, a single bear claw. If you’d like to send a letter to friends or family Elk River Art, Lodge, & Studio sells 4- and 6-pack packages of fine art cards featuring Yellowstone landscapes. We also enjoy their bronze bighorn sheep wall hook and detailed sketch of Yellowstone’s most conspicuous flying resident, the common raven.
Plan Your Visit
Just because you aren’t here right now doesn’t mean you can’t plan your visit in advance! Download the Gardiner 2020-21 Visitor Guide to learn about Gardiner’s history, view sample itineraries, and peruse maps. The guide will help you research local trails and camping opportunities, and learn about hotels, restaurants, grocery stores, and activities awaiting you when the park is fully able to reopen. We look forward to your visit!
Chelsea DeWeese writes from her hometown of Gardiner, Montana, the North Entrance to Yellowstone National Park.