Additional evidence

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Posted by Ballpark Frank ( on 09:09:27 08/16/17

In Reply to: Yellowstone Picnic Area posted by Marge


After reading your latest post, I pulled up the NPS website page on Picknicking. A quick look at the map lends potent support to your argument. The decisions on where to construct picnic areas were made decades before wolf reintroduction. When you compare the Northeast corridor to the rest of the park, there is an obvious shortage of picnic areas. Closing the old picnic area in Lamar Valley, due to the chronic flooding problem, only exacerbated an existing shortage. Creating the Soda Butte picnic area was supposed to replace that resource, which it did, theoretically, but it did nothing to reduce the pressure on the Yellowstone River Picnic Area. If you examine the map, and look at the three roads that radiate out from Tower Junction, you see that the Yellowstone River Picnic Area is the ONLY picnic area for close to 15 miles in any of the 3 directions. I would bet money that very few NPS people are aware of this situation, because they are involved in other geographic portions of the park or other resources. When you write to the park, I would reference this map, and address this obvious resource shortage in an area of the park that has significantly more visitation than back when the picnic areas were created. Even in an era of fiscal austerity, this is an argument that carries a lot of weight, due to the obvious geographic skew.

Here's a few other things I realized after examining the map and the table that provides details on picnic areas:
1.) The nearest picnic area with a fire grate would be either the Arch Park in Gardiner, which shows 1, or the Cascade Lake picnic area, with 5. The third closest would be at Norris Meadows, with 2.

2.) There are two Cascade Picnic Areas. They should identify #33 as the "Cascade Lake" Picnic Area, to eliminate nomenclature confusion.

3.) I noticed an error in the table. (There are probably others.) The Chittenden Bridge/Wapiti Lake Picnic Area (#32) shows as not having a toilet. This simply means the table was not updated when the privy was added in the southwest corner of the parking lot, which occurred at least 12-15 years ago. This problem requires more than simply changing a few alphabetic characters on the website. Visitor Centers around the park typically have hard copies of this type of info to hand out to visitors at the Information Desk.

The next time I am in Mammoth on a weekday, I will make an attempt to contact the folks in the landscape architecture area to see what kind of info I can dig up on whether anyone has their eyes on this issue. Meanwhile, I would encourage you to incorporate any of the info I am providing in this post into your letter.

I'm glad you enjoyed that hike way back when. Keep an eye on this space for any updates, and post back with info on any reply you receive from the park.


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