Explore Careers

A park ranger in uniform standing near a large stone archway with their hands outstretched above their head
A park ranger next to the Roosevelt Arch near the park's North Entrance in Gardiner, Montana, on a winter day.

NPS / Jacob W. Frank


Are you curious about careers in Yellowstone National Park?

During an average year, Yellowstone has roughly 750 National Park Service employees, 300 volunteers, 3,000 concessions employees, and 300 contractors working throughout the park. From studying archeological sites, to maintaining boardwalks, to predicting the next Old Faithful eruption, there are many types of positions that help preserve the park's natural and cultural resources for the enjoyment, education, and inspiration of this and future generations. Learn more about the variety of careers available in Yellowstone below!

four park rangers talking into microphones around a conference table
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Administrative & Employee Support

Learn about NPS careers that focus on administrative and employee support. Job titles can include administrative officer; administrative specialist; contract specialist; budget analyst; financial specialist; human resources; grants management specialist; clerk; safety and occupational health specialist; transportation specialist; supply clerk and technician; teller and more.


Evan Hubbard, Visitor Services Technician


Did you know Yellowstone keeps track of how many people visit the park each year?

Park employees like Evan use the information gathered to produce monthly reports, which help inform management decisions ranging from how many people we hire each summer to updating infrastructure to accommodate increased visitation. Knowing how many people visit the area also helps us understand how big of an economic impact Yellowstone has on local communities.

"It's interesting to look at the data for trends. For example, the first year we started collecting data in 1904, we had about 14,000 visits. Compare that with our busiest year (2016) of 4.26 million, and it's a 31,000% increase. It took 76 years to hit 1 million visits in a single year, but only 17 more to hit 2 million, 27 more to hit 3 million, and 23 more to hit 4 million." - Evan Hubbard, Visitor Services Technician

Learn more about Yellowstone visitation statistics.

Tellers, Pat Moran and Cheryl Gallagher, counting fees in the Central Fee Office


Did you know Yellowstone takes in over $16 million in fees annually?

Whether it’s for a Junior Ranger booklet, entrance fee, or backcountry permit, every dollar collected comes across the remit desk of employees like Pat and Cheryl. Acting as each other’s “accountabili-buddies,” together they recount and report every cent from the 10,000 till shifts they receive.

“When there are hiccups in the software or connectivity issues, it’s our job to act as financial detectives and sort things out.” - Pat Moran and Cheryl Gallagher, Tellers

Rachel Cudmore, Winter Courier


Did you know Yellowstone has four seasonal post offices?

When they close for the winter, employees like Rachel are responsible for making the 150-mile trip two times per week to deliver mail, supplies, and equipment to 120 people living in areas of the park accessible only by snowmobile or snowcoach.

"In 12 winters, I've had to travel through blizzards and whiteout conditions, but it’s all worth the effort when you see how excited people are to get their mail! I love that my job brings people joy, especially during a time of year when living in isolated locations can be challenging.” - Rachel Cudmore, Winter Courier

Clark loading the truck for a park courier run


Did you know that each summer we hand out a combined 1.6 million newspapers and maps?

That's nearly 70 tons of information! In order to keep our entrance stations and visitor centers stocked, our courier, Clark, drives around 7,000 miles during the summer to deliver packages and supplies to 30+ locations throughout the park.

"Yellowstone is an introduction to America's public lands for a lot of people. There's lots to learn to make the most out of their trip. I like to think my job helps facilitate that." - Clark Dodd, Park Courier

April Browning, Yellowstone Fleet Operations


Did you know Yellowstone manages the largest fleet in the National Park Service, totaling a combined 1,000 vehicles, snowmobiles, and trailers?

When the average vehicle reaches its end of life, employees like April purchase new vehicles to support operations throughout the park. Their work to improve vehicle emissions also earned the team the Green Fleet Award in 2020!

“Managing a fleet this big comes with many challenges but overcoming them is my favorite part of the job. I look for a way, not a way out!” - April Browning, Fleet Operations

Horse team and wagon along the Slough Creek Trail


Did you know Yellowstone cares for and works 100 head of stock?

During the summer and fall, they travel throughout the park to support backcountry logistical needs, mostly for our trail crews and backcountry rangers. With some animals traveling over 1,000 miles in a season, the corrals typically go through 1,300 horse shoes and 10,400 shoeing nails each season. Employees like Dustin also provide packing support for other backcountry projects completed by the radio shop, science crews, and craft shops, to name a few.

"It's my pleasure and mission to keep the tradition of stock use and packing alive in Yellowstone and other parks across the country. We have an exceptional group of stock, and I'm proud to take care of them." - Dustin Sene, Corrals Manager


Cultural Resources

Learn about NPS careers that focus on cultural resources. Job titles can include archeologist; social science technician; exhibits specialist; cultural resource specialist; museum specialist and technician; museum curator; landscape architect; historical architect; librarian; anthropologist; historian; archives technician and more.


Cultural resource specialist Tom James performing measurements in an excavation test plot


Did you know Yellowstone conducts archeological surveys throughout the park?

Beginning more than 11,000 years ago, people traveled through and used the Yellowstone area. As the park's infrastructure is updated to meet growing needs, archeologists and cultural resource specialists work to minimize impacts to historic resources. One way we accomplish this is by excavating "test units" to examine archeological deposits below the ground surface.

"Archeological resources are invaluable in our understanding of people's lives before creation of the park, and also inform us about past climate and biotic change." - Beth Horton, Archeologist

We use this knowledge to assess archeological sites for their significance or eligibility for listing on the National Register of Historic Places: the official list of U.S. buildings, districts, sites, structures, and objects worthy of preservation.

"Seeing how our predecessors lived in the environment of Yellowstone over the millennia is fascinating; and protecting the evidence of their lives at archeological sites, historic buildings, and cultural landscapes is my calling." - Tom James, Cultural Resource Specialist

Learn more about archeology in Yellowstone.

Miriam Watson, Museum Curator, with historic vehicle collection


Did you know Yellowstone preserves more than 40 vehicles dating from the 1880's to near present day?

Employees like Miriam research and share stories of the Historic Vehicle Collection, which includes a surrey used by the U.S. Army (circa 1905), Tally-Ho stagecoaches (circa 1890's-1910's), soft-top touring buses operated by concessionaires (circa 1930's), a fire truck that can pump water from natural sources (circa 1960's), two scooters used by park rangers in the campgrounds (circa 1970's), and even a snowmobile (2001)!

“I never thought that I’d drain the oil from a 1916 truck or vacuum a stagecoach. I love the thought that I'm helping preserve the many stories of Yellowstone for future generations to learn from and enjoy!” - Miriam Watson, Museum Curator

Learn more about Yellowstone's Historic Vehicle Collection.

Curatorial intern, Ty, gives a public shows a piece of obsidian worked stone at Heitage and Research Center


Did you know there are nearly 4.3 million Yellowstone-related items in the park's museum library and archive collections?

Many of these objects are stored in the Yellowstone Heritage and Research Center (HRC) located in Gardiner, Montana. They range from microorganisms, historic photos, obsidian worked stone, former employee scrapbooks, and even historic vehicles. We offer public tours of the collection each Wednesday!

"It's an honor to work with such an extensive collection. My favorite pieces to show visitors are the wolf skulls of 7F and 2M: the first naturally formed pack in Yellowstone after the reintroduction." - Ty, HRC Curatorial Intern

Learn more about the Yellowstone Heritage and Research Center.

Kimberlee Roberts, Archives Technician, holding up a "relaxed" map after spending time in the humidification chamber


Did you know Yellowstone is digitizing historic maps, plans, and architectural drawings from the museum collection?

Many of the maps arrive to the Heritage and Research Center after years of being rolled up with a rubber band, so the first step in the process is to flatten them. Employees like Kimberlee will place pieces into a humidification chamber to relax the fibers enough so they may be mechanically flattened, dried, digitally scanned, and then stored flat in a drawer for archival purposes.

“This is such a cool project to be a part of. The beauty and particularities of these maps are what make them a unique treasure to Yellowstone, and now they’re available from anywhere.” - Kimberlee Roberts, Archives Technician

Learn more about Yellowstone's maps collection.

Mel Cutietta and Sarah Marino, research librarians, Heritage and Research Center


Did you know Yellowstone has a growing research library with over 20,000 books, movies, music, and articles?

Employees like Sarah dig into our collections to help people learn about the area’s history, wildlife, geography, and unique stories. Call, email, or stop by the Heritage and Research Center next time you’re in the area!

“You never know what people are going to ask--it could be about the remains of a structure they saw along a trail or what elk eat in the winter. It's rewarding to help people find new connections with Yellowstone through the topics that interest them the most." - Sarah Marino, Research Librarian

Learn more about Yellowstone's research library.

Salish Kootenai College Archaeology group: flagging a lithic site


Did you know Yellowstone partners with Salish Kootenai College to conduct research on archeological resources?

In addition to increasing the park's database of specific sites, students like Toddie gain field experience to complement their classroom studies.

"It’s nice to bridge indigenous archeology perspectives with conventional archaeology. This partnership's purpose will help us strive towards a more inclusive future." - Toddie Buffalo, SKC Tribal Historic Preservation Student



Learn about NPS careers that focus on education. Job titles can include park ranger; park guide; social science aid; recreation aid and more.


Expedition Yellowstone group playing "Guessing Sticks," a Chippewa game


Did you know Yellowstone hosts students from around the country?

When summer ends and students return to school, Expedition Yellowstone education rangers like Heather help to grow tomorrow's stewards. Last year, with the help of generous donations through Yellowstone Forever, 68 teachers brought 1,943 students and chaperones to explore the geology, ecology, and human history of Yellowstone with rangers in the residential program.

"Kids love this program. For some, it's the first time they've been to the park. What better place to learn than the living laboratory of Yellowstone?" - Heather Basak, Park Ranger

Learn more about Expedition Yellowstone.

Ranger Becky gives a program at Old Faithful


Did you know Yellowstone offers a variety of ranger programs at eight locations throughout the park?

To help people connect with and understand the park’s diverse natural and cultural resources, employees like Becky present free public talks and walks to over 250,000 people each year.

"It’s not possible to personally connect with every person who visits the park through a ranger program, but that moment when Old Faithful erupts and thousands of people all gasp in disbelief at once, that brings me joy. We're all connected in that moment.” - Becky Burdoo, Park Ranger (Interpretation)

Learn more about Ranger Programs offered in Yellowstone.

YCC community science dragonfly larve survey: dragonfly larve ID card


Did you know Yellowstone participates in a nationwide community science study called the Dragonfly Mercury Project?

As predators, dragonfly larvae live and hunt in water for up to five years where mercury can bioaccumulate in them, if present, over time. Employees like Matt coordinate with Yellowstone’s Youth Conservation Corps (YCC) members to collect larvae in the park for mercury analysis.

“Working with YCC on a community science investigation is rewarding. It connects them to places like Yellowstone and exposes them to science careers while providing high-quality data to scientists working to solve real-world problems.” - Matt Ohlen, Education Specialist

Learn more about the Dragonfly Mercury Project.


Emergency Medical Services

Learn about NPS careers that focus on emergency medical services. Job titles can include dispatcher; park ranger (protection); public health consultant; emergency medical technician and more.


Kaelyn Johnson, Interagency Communication Center Manager


Did you know if you dial 9-1-1 when you're in the park, the call is answered by the Yellowstone Interagency Communication Center?

In addition to managing eight phone lines, employees like Kaelyn also monitor radio traffic. Between the phones and radio, the Communication Center handles over 25,000 calls each year.

"In addition to Yellowstone, our operation provides 9-1-1 services to three local communities and dispatch services to nine agencies outside the park. Visitors are our eyes and ears in the park. If you see something that requires police, fire, or medical services, don't hesitate to dial 9-1-1." - Kaelyn Johnson, Interagency Communication Center Manager

High-angle search & rescue training - May 2019 (13)


Did you know Yellowstone has a high-angle rescue team?

Thankfully it's not a common occurrence, but one of the "high profile" services we provide is high-angle rescue. When people drive off steep roads or fall from ledges, our Search and Rescue (SAR) team springs into action. The cross-divisional team trains throughout the year to make sure they are ready for any situation.

"Every high-angle rescue is like solving a complex puzzle. Rarely are they the same. It's one of the more challenging and rewarding parts of the job, and there's no better feeling than helping someone out of a bad situation." - Gabe Gassman, Park Ranger (Protection)

Commander George Larsen, Public Health Consultant, inspecting food services (3)


Did you know the National Park Service is the only U.S. land management agency with an Office of Public Health?

In 2022, Yellowstone commemorated the 100-year anniversary of the partnership with the U.S. Public Health Service and NPS. Commissioned officers like George provide services that include surveying drinking water and wastewater systems, inspecting food vendors, and responding to and preventing illness outbreaks.

“In addition to being an incredible natural and cultural resource, parks are also a powerful resource to promote human health. Our partnership mitigates the risk of people getting sick while they visit, so they can focus on getting out and exploring the wonders of Yellowstone." - Commander George Larsen, Public Health Consultant

Matthew Hrovat, Paramedic and Dean Hererra, Emergency Medical Technician


Did you know Yellowstone operates 11 ambulances stationed throughout eight developed areas of the park?

Each year, employees like Dean respond to over 800 emergency medical calls ranging from motor vehicle collisions to heart attacks.

“Yellowstone is big and remote. It takes coordination with our mutual-aid partners to get our patients to the nearest facility in a timely fashion. It’s a team effort.” - Dean Herrera, Emergency Medical Technician

Yellowstone Helitack short-haul training: crew hauling patient to safety


Did you know Yellowstone is one of eight national parks with a helitack crew capable of short-haul rescue?

In the event of an emergency and a ground evacuation is dangerous, employees like Angie are trained to rescue people using a special harness while suspended below a hovering helicopter.

“Short-hauling is a tool we’re glad to have, but our hope is that backcountry visitors plan ahead, prepare, and make good choices so we don’t have to share a seat at the end of a 250-foot rope.” - Angie Bealka, Assistant Helitack Supervisor

Mass Casualty Incident Training, Mammoth Hot Springs


Did you know Yellowstone coordinates with local community first responders to create life-like simulations, like a bus rollover, to prepare for potential medical emergencies?

Park employees like Tim use these training scenarios to understand the way our partners operate, learn how to cooperate effectively, and identify and solve problems before a real emergency happens.

"These trainings are valuable since we don't respond to real incidents of this magnitude on a frequent basis. Exposing ourselves to a realistic, dynamic scenario is a great way to prepare for a real incident. The body can't go where the mind hasn't already been." - Tim Townsend, District Park Ranger (Protection)


Facilities & Utilities

Learn about NPS careers that focus on facilities and utilities. Job titles can include carpenter; civil engineer; custodial worker; equipment and facility operator; engineering technician; engineering equipment operator; facilities operations specialist; heavy mobile equipment mechanic; laborer; maintenance mechanic; mechanical engineer; motor vehicle operator; utility systems operator and more.


Dump truck and load hooked up to the chip spreader


Did you know Yellowstone resurfaces about 30 miles of roads each summer in addition to major infrastructure improvement projects?

Over 14 million pounds (7,000 tons) of "chips" were sealed to road surfaces using 128,000 gallons of chip seal oil last summer. By extending the time between asphalt overlays, chip seals result in lower costs to maintain park roads over the long term.

"Chip seals enhance safety by providing good skid resistance, which is great for a place with so much wildlife on the roads. They also prevent deterioration of the asphalt surface from the effects of aging and oxidation due to water and sun." - Marty Powell, Roads Supervisor

Facility Management & Operations employee Lisa in front of a stock of bathroom tissue


Did you know Yellowstone cleans and services 422 toilets every day during the summer?

With over 4 million visits, employees like Lisa stock park restrooms with 3,500+ miles of toilet tissue each summer - roughly the distance from Key West to Seattle.

"Keeping everything cleaned during the summer can be a challenge, especially at the most popular restrooms in the park. I just put on a smile and roll with it." - Lisa Bush, Custodial Worker

Brian Kay, engineering equipment operator


Did you know Yellowstone operates three packer trucks to collect solid waste throughout the park?

During the summer, employees like Brian drive 200 miles to collect over 10,000 pounds of garbage every day. Along with our recycling program, we divert about 1,700 tons of solid waste away from the landfill each year.

“I'm guessing Yellowstone is one of the most scenic collection routes in the business. It's fun when people, despite being surrounded by beauty during their visit to the park, want to take pictures of my truck!” - Brian Kay, Engineering Equipment Operator

Snow groomer near Madison Junction


Did you know Yellowstone maintains 180+ miles of roads for oversnow vehicles?

From mid-December to mid-March, many of the park entrances and attractions are only accessible by snowmobile or snowcoach. Each night, employees like William groom the roads to ensure safe travel for visitors the following day.

“Grooming during a storm really makes you appreciate snow poles, reflector tape, and my coworkers who put them there. In complete darkness and with only 5 feet of visibility, the blowing snow makes my 9 m.p.h. feel like warp speed!” - William Wright, Equipment Operator

Boardwalk crew at Silex Spring (2)


Did you know Yellowstone builds and maintains miles of boardwalks?

Watching geysers and hot springs is one of the top reasons people come to Yellowstone. A common question we receive is, "How are the boardwalks built?" Well, there's a team of people who plan, build, and maintain the 15+ miles of boardwalks that lead you safely to the places you want to go.

"It's one of those things people might walk right over without noticing, but the work our crew does helps millions of people safely see these fragile features up close without damaging them." - Paul Anderson, Boardwalk Crew Leader

Peter Galindo, Mechanical Engineer, and the micro hydro generator


Did you know Yellowstone maintains a micro hydroelectric generator?

Installed as a part of the park’s water treatment facility system in 2012, the generator offsets about $75,000 in electricity costs and 1,500 tons of CO2 emissions each year. Employees like Peter perform routine checks on the system, which should run for at least 30 years before a major overhaul is required.

“Before I joined the National Park Service 22 years ago, I worked in hydro generation for the city of Los Angeles. My former coworkers thought it was pretty cool I got to build a hydro plant in Yellowstone.” - Peter Galindo, Mechanical Engineer

Utility systems operator, Rafal Kos, gives a tour of the water treatment facility


Did you know Yellowstone maintains and operates 23 water treatment plants?

They range from large frontcountry operations in areas like Mammoth Hot Springs, Canyon, and Old Faithful to rustic, hand-operated well pumps in remote backcountry outposts. On a normal summer day in Mammoth Hot Springs, certified utility operators like Rafal work to produce and distribute (via gravity) about 350,000 gallons of clean tap water for the 352 homes, office buildings, and lodging in the area.

"I'm honored to be a member of the team that provides our community with such a vital need. The job requires not just the ability to perform calculations and solve problems, but also integrity and a strong sense of duty. You have to show up every day with the public in mind." - Rafal Kos, Utility Systems Operator

Rachel Dodgen, asset manager, turning on the blower door


Did you know Yellowstone performs energy audits on park housing?

In addition to updating lighting and appliances, employees like Rachel look to improve efficiency by locating air leakage points using a blower door and thermal imaging. By addressing these hidden air leaks and weakened insulation, the park estimates a savings of 15% in energy consumption for housing. With nearly 450 housing units within the park, this will compound to big savings!

“Living in Yellowstone is living in extremes – severe cold, heavy snow, and strong winds. Energy audits give us an opportunity to reduce energy consumption, improve sustainability, and take care of our employees." - Rachel Dodgen, Asset Manager

Brian B.  (Engineering Equipment Operator) inside the rotary blower (2)


Did you know it takes nearly three months to plow 250 miles of road and parking lots in Yellowstone each spring?

Employees like Brian begin plowing near Mammoth Hot Springs in early March and complete operations along the Beartooth Highway in late May, weather depending. It’s also common for roads to temporarily close and need plowing again after spring snowstorms.

“When we plow the Beartooth Highway in May, we’re in full winter gear. When we get back to Mammoth at the end of the day, people are walking around in flip flops and shorts. It’s like transporting to another world in a 50-mile drive.” - Brian Batzloff, Equipment Operator

Installing snow stakes in Hayden Valley


Did you know most of the roads in Yellowstone close to regular vehicles during the winter?

Every fall, employees like Eric install nearly 20,000 snow stakes throughout the park. The stakes mark the edge of the road for two main purposes—to guide snowplows on roads we want to keep snow free, and to guide groomers on roads we maintain for snowmobiles and snowcoaches.

“Snow stakes aren’t a scenic addition, but they’re essential for winter operations. Whether you’re visiting or an employee living in the park, snow stakes are there to help you travel through Yellowstone during this spectacular time of year.” - Eric Holdren, Equipment Operator

Engineer Equipment Operator Tony Aiuppa and the pumper truck aka "honeywagon"


Did you know Yellowstone maintains 157 vault toilets throughout the park?

This means you're never further than 10 minutes from a bathroom along the road. Without the "honeywagon" and employees like Tony to pump the toilets, they fill up and temporarily close. To keep up with demand, Tony travels 18,000 miles and pumps 330,000 gallons of human waste each year.

"Some would say it's the most important job in Yellowstone. Well, if it's not number one, it's definitely number two." - Tony Aiuppa, Engineering Equipment Operator

Trail crew Mt. Washburn Trail crib wall project (4)


Did you know Yellowstone rehabilitates park trails?

The Mount Washburn Trail on the Dunraven side was recently closed to complete the major rehabilitation of a deteriorating crib wall. To complete the project, the trail crew designed a new wall, contracted a helicopter to fly in and stage materials, fabricated and placed concrete block anchors, and used a highline to maneuver materials and tools into place. The project was completed last week, and they're excited for you to get out there and see the results!

"This was not your typical trail project. We are honored to provide an improved hiker experience and preserve a bit of history. This experience confirms that with teamwork, community, optimism, and perseverance, we can accomplish anything!" - Cager Messer, Trails Maintenance Supervisor

Building custom cabinets: table saw work


Did you know Yellowstone is rehabilitating historic employee housing throughout the park?

As goal three of the park’s employee housing strategy, park craftsmen like Chris work to improve the condition of these structures while maintaining their historic feel.

“I take great pride and responsibility for creating, restoring, and preserving new and old woodwork throughout Yellowstone. Turning these houses into homes for my coworkers is a bonus.” - Chris Lovoy, Cabinetmaker

Learn more about how Yellowstone is improving employee housing.

Plowing Beartooth Highway 2021 (1)


Did you know Yellowstone uses a service truck to keep our 153 heavy equipment machines up and running in the field?

With three garages spread out along 452 miles of road, the nearest garage on some job sites can be 75 miles away. That’s when employees like Tucker use the service truck to make on-site repairs.

“Field repairs are time and cost effective. If we can’t fix it on site, it can be a week before we can get the asset back in action. A field repair can make the difference when trying to keep road opening deadlines.” - Tucker Cunningham, Heavy Mobile Equipment Mechanic

Kyle Stone, Civil Engineer, going over plans with a consulting building inspector at the YACC Camp project site


Did you know Yellowstone is improving employee housing across the park?

Our ability to attract and retain talent in Yellowstone is strongly tied to the availability and affordability of housing options in and around the park. As part of the park’s Strategic Priorities, the first goal of the project is to replace 64 outdated trailers in poor condition from the ‘70s and ‘80s with high-quality modular homes. Employees like Kyle work with contractors on every aspect of the project including removing old trailers, new home and site design, off-site construction, site development, modular transport, on-site assembly, and quality control.

“This project is the first of its kind in the National Park Service. Using modular versus on-site construction means we can build more units, in less time, with lower costs, more sustainably.” - Kyle Stone, Civil Engineer

Learn more about how Yellowstone is improving employee housing.

Employee housing Improvement Project Goal 2: kitchen after (2)


Did you know Yellowstone is improving employee housing across the park?

Our ability to attract and retain talent in Yellowstone is strongly tied to the availability and affordability of housing options in and around the park. As part of the park’s Strategic Priorities, the second goal of the project is to improve the condition of non-historic housing. Craft shop employees like Boyd are working on a range of updates, including roofing and siding replacements, improved insulation and heating systems, and new floors, cabinets, and appliances.

“When your coworkers are the people living in the houses you’re working on, you really want to make sure you bring your A-game. Living in a remote place like Yellowstone, it’s important we take care of each other!” - Boyd Tippets, Carpenter

Learn more about how Yellowstone is improving employee housing.


Information Technology

Learn about NPS careers that focus on information technology. Job titles can include information technology manager; information technology specialist; telecommunications; computer scientist; engineering technician; electronics technician and more.


Dan Brown, Electronics Technician, works on an alarm panel


Did you know Yellowstone maintains 300 intelligent alarms systems?

In accordance with the National Fire Alarm Code, employees like Dan are certified to design, install, inspect, and repair park alarm systems upon completion of a rigorous accreditation program.

“There’s no room for error when dealing with fire safety. When smoke or fire is detected, alarms must activate immediately and notify the people inside the building and first responders 100% of the time.” - Dan Brown, Electronics Technician

Dave Kelser, Electronics Technician, climbing a communications tower (3)


Did you know Yellowstone maintains a radio communications network covering over 2 million acres?

Each year, employees like Dave visit hundreds of pieces of equipment throughout the park on foot, skis, and sometimes helicopter to inspect, upgrade, or repair the network. Their work ensures that Yellowstone employees in the field can communicate with each other and emergency services, via the communications center.

“Managing a communications network in a wild place like Yellowstone is challenging, but when you’re working on top of a peak like Top Notch with views all around you, the job is a dream come true.” - Dave Kelser, Electronics Technician

Park IT specialist checking on park servers


Did you know Yellowstone manages 800 computers, 75 servers, 200 routers/switches, and 60 terabytes of data throughout the park?

One of the tasks of Computer Support Services (CSS) and their team of five is to keep Yellowstone's computers and networks up and running. The work they do keeps this remote park connected internally and with the tens of millions of people who contact us via email, web, and social media each year.

"Communication in a park this big is vital. The majority of our employees use a computer, internet, and network every day. That means when things aren't working, everyone notices." - Roger Whiteside, Supervisory IT Specialist


Law Enforcement

Learn about NPS careers that focus on law enforcement. Job titles can include park ranger (protection); park ranger (backcountry) and more.


Ranger Dooley leads a string into the backcountry along the Slough Creek Trail


Did you know Yellowstone has more than 1,000 miles of trails in the park?

Each summer, backcountry rangers patrol these trails to clear them in the spring, assist visitors, fix historic cabins, and do boundary patrols during the hunting season.

"I love being able to work outdoors in the world's first national park. My partner, Roo (horse), and I have really perfected our good cop, bad cop routine." - Kevin Dooley, Park Ranger (Backcountry)

Ranger Stang calling the communications center on the radio


Did you know Yellowstone responds to a variety of incidents on park roads?

With millions of cars driving the 400+ miles of the park's roads, statistically, people need help. Every day, our frontcountry law enforcement rangers work to help people and keep the roads safe. Incidents range from simple things like jump starts, lockouts, and wildlife jams, to more serious things like speeding, drivers under the influence of alcohol and drugs, and vehicle collisions. In total, we see around 1,000 accidents on the road each year, some with serious injuries.

"No two days are ever the same. I'll go from educating people about safe distances from wildlife or proper food storage in the campgrounds, to being first on scene in a major accident. Most people aren't prepared for an emergency on their vacation, so when I can help them out of a bad situation, it's a rewarding experience." - Ranger Stang, Park Ranger (Protection)

Ranger Sene captains her boat on Yellowstone Lake


You've probably heard about the rangers who patrol the frontcountry roads and backcountry trails of the park, but did you know Yellowstone has lake patrol rangers, too?

With a fleet of nine vessels, employees like Jackie perform a variety of tasks on Yellowstone and Lewis lakes including maintaining backcountry sites, assisting with aquatic invasive species and loon monitoring, transporting employees and equipment, and performing open-water rescues, to name a few. With quick-moving weather that can produce seas up to 6 feet and water temperatures averaging 41 degrees F, survival time of people on a capsized vessel can be 15 minutes or less.

"The vastness of the lake, the mountains reflecting in the water on a calm day, and the diversity of wildlife in the area: Yellowstone Lake truly is a great treasure. It's a privilege to explore and protect such a special resource." - Jackie Sene, Park Ranger (Protection)


Natural Resources

Learn about NPS careers that focus on natural resources. Job titles can include biological science technician; botanist; ecologist; environmental protection specialist; geologist; hydrologist; natural resource specialist; physical science technician; GIS technician; forestry technician and more.


Ranger Annie at Old Faithful Visitor and Education Center


Did you know Yellowstone coordinates and manages external research conducted in the park?

We're constantly trying to better understand the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem through a variety of research. In addition to conducting our own studies, our research permit coordinator, Annie Carlson, issues permits to a variety of researchers around the globe (in 2018, she issued 142 permits to investigators from 31 states and 8 countries!). This permitting process promotes the safety of the crews and protection of the resources they are here to study.

"There's no end to what scientists could discover in Yellowstone. I review many research proposals, with topics ranging from water chemistry to archaeology to butterflies. Meeting the scientists in the field and observing their methods is the best part. Every scientist views this ecosystem through their own unique lens." - Annie Carlson, Research Permit Coordinator

Learn more about the research permitting process in Yellowstone.

Geology team using photogrammetry to create a 3-D model of Cistern Spring after a Steamboat Geyser eruption (2)


Did you know Yellowstone creates 3D models of hydrothermal features using a technique called photogrammetry?

Employees like Maaz and Morgan photograph the features from multiple angles and then process the images to create workable models. These “snapshots” will allow us to study how features change over time and also help researchers model eruption styles.

“I’m excited that our work is laying the foundation for future geomorphological research. It will be interesting to watch how Yellowstone's hydrothermal features will physically change in the years ahead.” - Maaz Fareedi, Physical Science Technician

Learn more about hydrothermal features in Yellowstone.

Erin White - Park Hydrologist in the field


Did you know scientists have been routinely measuring streamflows within Yellowstone since the 1880's?

Streamflow (discharge) is the volume of water that moves past a reference point over a period of time. This data helps answer management questions related to water availability, water quality, ecological conditions, infrastructure design and maintenance, hazards, climate change, and water rights. It also lets visitors know when it’s time to pull out their fishing rod and waders each year.

“Taking streamflow measurements is comparable to taking the pulse of a river. It’s rewarding to think about how the pulses measured in a small wadable creek or river in the park will be propagated downstream and affect the ecological conditions of a nationwide river network. Water not only touches every aspect of our resources and operations in Yellowstone, it moves across the park boundaries and impacts communities and ecosystems several thousand miles away.” - Erin White, Hydrologist

Learn more about water in Yellowstone.

Alex Zaideman, backcountry monitoring lead, mapping social trails


Did you know Yellowstone collects data to understand impacts from increased visitation in the backcountry?

Employees like Alex map resource impacts like social trails so park managers have the data they need to make informed decisions about backcountry site management, restoration, and improvements.

“Every visitor has an impact on the park, some larger than others. When you multiply that by thousands of backcountry visits each year, popular areas of the park can be inadvertently loved to death. Monitoring these impacts is the first step towards remediating them." - Alex Zaideman, Backcountry Monitoring Lead

Ben Banet, GIS Technician, downloading data from climate monitoring site (2)


Did you know Yellowstone maintains the oldest, continuously operated weather station in Wyoming, which dates to 1894?

Today, employees like Ben maintain a network of climate stations to study the variability of meteorological data across different elevations of the park. With hotter temperatures and 30 fewer days per year with snow on the ground than in the 1960s, park planners are looking for proactive ways to protect its people and resources.

“A warming, drying climate not only impacts park resources, but how you enjoy the park too. This summer we’ve had smoky skies for months and even had to close some places to fishing because the water was too hot.” - Ben Banet, GIS Technician

Learn more about climate change in Yellowstone.

Physical Science Technician, Mark Wolf, downloads data from a remote temperature logger


Did you know Yellowstone monitors the temperatures of hydrothermal features?

Employees like Mark deploy and maintain an array of thermistor (temperature) data loggers often placed in the near-boiling, acidic runoff channels of hot springs and geysers across the park. The data collected over time is analyzed for patterns, which help us determine a variety of things like eruption intervals or if nearby features may be connected underground.

“It’s interesting to see how hydrothermal activity in certain features change over time. We’re always learning something new, and sharing that information with folks I meet on the boardwalks is one of my favorite parts of the job.” - Mark Wolf, Physical Science Technician

Learn more about the Yellowstone Volcano by visiting the Yellowstone Volcano Observatory.

National Park Service Greater Yellowstone Network (GRYN) Amphibian and Wetland monitoring program: lead biological technician, Jana, holds a mature Columbia spotted frog


Did you know Yellowstone surveys wetlands throughout the park to monitor amphibian populations?

Species like Columbia spotted frogs are an “indicator species” because they are sensitive to ecosystem changes and need shallow ponds for breeding. Employees like Jana document their presence, or lack thereof, to signal larger changes taking place in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.

“They often go overlooked in a park full bears and wolves, but amphibians tell us so much about the health of an ecosystem. They are the canary in the coal mine.” - Jana Cram, Lead Biological Technician, Greater Yellowstone Network

Learn more about the Greater Yellowstone Network's Amphibian and Wetland Monitoring Program.

Whitebark pine tree monitoring: Whtebark monitoring team examine bark of beetle-infested tree


Did you know that Yellowstone is an interagency partner of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem Whitebark Pine Monitoring Program?

Since 2004, employees like Dani have monitored tree health, recruitment, and its decline across the ecosystem due to ecological effects from nonnative blister rust, native mountain pine beetle, and wildland fire. To inform the restoration strategy for this “Threatened” species, Yellowstone is expanding monitoring to more sites across the park.

“Whitebark pine is important for retaining snowpack to slow spring runoff and its seeds are a key food source for birds like the Clark’s nutcracker and mammals, including grizzly bears. The data we collect will help inform management decisions like intervention, active protection, and possible restoration.” - Dani Yashinovitz, Biological Science Technician.

Learn more about whitebark pine in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.

Jeff Hungerford - Park geologist deploys a remote nodal seismometer from the boardwalk on Geyser Hill


Did you know Yellowstone partners with nine state and federal agencies to monitor volcanic, hydrothermal, and earthquake activity in the Yellowstone region?

Known as the Yellowstone Volcano Observatory (YVO), employees and partners like Jeff work to better understand what’s happening beneath the ground to forecast imminent hazardous activity. P.S. There are no signs of the volcano erupting anytime soon!

“One example of innovative YVO research is by University of Utah using nodal seismometers. They allow us to 'see' how the ground moves in three dimensions over time and in relation to other events, like geyser eruptions. Maybe one day we’ll be able to predict geysers like Steamboat.” - Jeff Hungerford, Geologist

Learn more about the Yellowstone Volcano Observatory.

Removing a hat from Palette Spring


Did you know Yellowstone has a specialized Thermal Area Preservation Program (TAPP) team who safely removes litter and documents resource impacts in thermal areas?

During summer 2019 alone, TAPP team members like Megan removed 438 hats and 16,404 pieces of litter in thermal areas. The data they collect is used to guide management decisions in order to better protect these natural resources for the future.

"Reach into your pocket for your camera, and out comes a stray wrapper along with it. A brief gust of wind, and say bye to your hat. Most people know not to throw things into hot springs, but many of the impacts we're seeing seem to be accidental. So, hold onto your hats!" - Megan Norr, Geothermal Monitor

Wetland ecologists, Elizabeth and Rachel, collect data from a wetland quadrat along the road near the Northeast Entrance


Did you know Yellowstone restores wetlands in the park?

When roads are updated, park employees like Heidi coordinate with the Federal Highway Administration to document existing roadside wetlands, determine how future road projects will impact them, and propose how to mitigate those impacts by restoring other disturbed wetlands of the park.

"Restoring wetlands means protecting my two favorite things, water and plants. I’ve worked in Yellowstone since 2002 and I’m still amazed by the diversity and frequency of wetlands on the landscape. It’s not at all a dry place." - Heidi Anderson, Wetland Ecologist

Learn more about wetlands in Yellowstone.

Biotech Sam Reid transplanting seed sprouts


Did you know Yellowstone has a native plant nursery and greenhouse?

When a road project has been approved, employees like Sam will survey the area and collect seed from native plants. A portion of the seed is sowed in the greenhouse during the spring, and the seedlings grow through the summer. When a construction project is finished, the plants are brought back to the area where they were collected to rehabilitate the disturbed areas.

"Revegetation is an important part of road improvement projects, aesthetically and ecologically. By collecting seed from a project site, growing them in our greenhouse, and transplanting them back to the project site, we can get a jump start on the rehabilitation. This keeps invasive weeds from taking hold and improves habitat for animals and insects in the park." - Sam Reid, Biological Technician

Learn more about native plant restoration in Yellowstone.

Vegetation ecologist, Stefanie Wacker, examines a quadrat in the Gardiner Basin


Did you know Yellowstone has a vegetation monitoring program?

Scientists like Stefanie inventory, monitor, manage, and conduct research on the 1,386 native plant species and 225 non-native plant species documented in the park. This program allows us to see increases or decreases of invasive species and their impact on native flora, as well as the effects of climate change.

"Most visitors come to see the iconic wildlife and geysers that make Yellowstone famous, but what would that visit be like without the beautiful wildflowers, the towering trees, and the sea of sagebrush that make the valleys so spectacular? Plants provide food and habitat for all manner of wildlife from bison to insects, wolves to birds. I love the diversity and beauty of plants and the intricate role they play in the ecosystem; they make me smile every day." - Stefanie Wacker, Vegetation Ecologist

Learn more about invasive plants in Yellowstone.

NPS Submerged Resources Center aids with Yellowstone's aquatic i


Did you know Yellowstone uses an underwater remotely operated vehicle to study the spawning habits of invasive lake trout in order to eradicate them?

Park scientists locate spawning beds deep in Yellowstone Lake by tagging select "Judas fish" with radio transmitters and tracking their movements. Once we know where they spawn, employees from the NPS Submerged Resources Center like Dave Conlin dive in to document the spawning beds with photos and video.

"Diving in the lake is cold and difficult. Water temperatures can be near freezing. That means you wear thermal protection under your drysuit and a lot of lead weight to offset it. Climbing into the boat with all that weight at an elevation of 9,000 feet leaves everyone gasping for air. But it's 136 square miles of the park that few get to experience above the water, let alone dive in." - Dave Conlin, Submerged Resources Center Chief

Learn more about native fish conservation in Yellowstone.


Visitor Experience

Learn about NPS careers that focus on visitor experience. Job titles can include park ranger (interpretation); park guide; outdoor recreation planner; educational technician; social science aid; recreation aid; recreation fee technician; visitor services specialist and more.


Naturalization Ceremony, September 7, 2016


Did you know Yellowstone partners with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to host naturalization ceremonies?

Since 2014, the partners and Judge Carman have welcomed 248 new U.S. citizens from 59 countries around the world after taking their Oath of Allegiance in the park.

“Performing the naturalization ceremony has been the highlight of my Judicial career. Hearing the stories of these world citizens who have sacrificed and worked for years to join us as citizens of our United States should remind all of us, that despite our tribulations, we remain a beacon of hope to much of the world.” –The Honorable Mark L. Carman, U.S. Magistrate Judge

Canyon Corral volunteer project: tacking fencing into place (2)


Did you know Yellowstone hosts nearly 3,000 volunteers each year?

Individuals and organized groups contribute to a combined yearly total of 80,000+ hours valued at $4.8 million in various ways. Some groups like Warfighter Outfitters have long-term relationships with the park, and rangers like Michael work alongside combat veterans to remodel barns, re-roof backcountry patrol cabins, and build horse corrals. In total, nearly 300 servicemen and women from the organization have contributed 190,000+ hours of volunteer labor since 2009.

“It’s a privilege to work alongside these groups of men and women that continue to serve their country. Not only do they get to explore the park while they are here, they head home knowing their work will leave a lasting fingerprint on the park for generations to come.” - Michael Curtis, Park Ranger

Learn more about volunteering in Yellowstone.

Heather and Sara posing with some of the items in lost and found


Did you know Yellowstone manages a lost and found?

If you're one of the 10,000 calls or 11,000 emails the park receives each year, then you've probably already spoken with one of the folks in our Visitor Services Office. In addition to answering questions, they also organize the 3,000+ lost items we receive each year. Some of the more interesting items have included a tabby cat named "Groovy," a bearded dragon, a tattoo kit, a half-on toolbox, a prosthetic leg, and this "unicorn pelt" jacket and oversized cartoon skunk stuffed animal.

"Calling someone and letting them know you found their wallet or camera, you can tell how relieved and appreciative they are. It's definitely the most rewarding part of the job." - Sara Fleming, Visitor Services Specialist

Timing an Old Faithful Geyser eruption


Did you know Yellowstone predicts Old Faithful eruptions?

Old Faithful has been a top attraction of Yellowstone since the park was established nearly 150 years ago. After each Old Faithful eruption, rangers predict when the next one will be. From over 100 years of recording data, we know if an eruption is longer than 3 minutes, it will be 95 (+/- 10) minutes until the next eruption. If it's under 3 minutes, then it will be 66 (+/- 10) minutes until the next eruption.

"People come from around the world to see Old Faithful, and I help facilitate that. It's a fun part of the job. Seeing a person's reaction to Old Faithful for the first time never gets old." - Phil Officer, Park Ranger (Interpretation)

Outdoor recreation planner, Jenni Burr, downloads data from a trail counter


Did you know Yellowstone researchers study people in the park?

Park staff like Jenni use a variety of tools, including trail counters, to learn more about visitation in popular areas of the park. While these trail counters might look like small cameras, they actually collect data by detecting body heat as people pass by them on a trail. This data helps us understand when sites are most crowded, how trail use changes throughout the year, and ultimately informs park management when making decisions regarding visitor use at a site.

"When visitors see us in the park and ask what we are studying, they are often surprised to learn that it is them. Sometimes they suggest people must be boring subjects. Far from it - people are fascinating! I find it rewarding to collect information that helps to both improve the visitor experience and protect park resources." - Jenni Burr, Outdoor Recreation Planner

Learn more about visitor use management in Yellowstone.


Visual & Written Arts

Learn about NPS careers that focus on visual and written arts. Job titles can include public affairs specialist; public information officer; visual information specialist; digital communications specialist; audiovisual production specialist; writer-editor; technical writer-editor; exhibit specialist; media specialist and more.


Yellowstone social media team member, Ashton, recording a video


Did you know Yellowstone has over 3 million combined social media followers from around the world?

Park employees like Ashton create and share content about park resources, current conditions, employees, incidents, and projects with the intent of building a vibrant virtual community of stewards and providing opportunities for people to interact with park employees and each other.

“Sure, sharing pretty pictures is fun, but we also strive to engage in dialogue and foster stewardship through social media campaigns like the Yellowstone Pledge. By highlighting the park from many perspectives, we hope to help you discover your own connection to Yellowstone!” - Ashton Hooker, Digital Communications Specialist

Miles Barger, publications program manager


Did you know Yellowstone designs and manages visitor publications?

From the lesser known “Tree Mortality” site bulletin to our popular “unigrid” park map, employees like Miles ensure that visitors to Yellowstone have the information they need to make the most of their trip.

“Between the [roughly] 85 publications we keep updated, we hand out over 2 million copies combined each year. It’s rewarding to be a part of a program that touches nearly every person that visits Yellowstone.” - Miles Barger, Publications Program Manager

Collaborative exhibit unveiling: William Inskeep, Montana State University; Virginia Warner, Media Specialist; Mary Wilson, North District Supervisor; and Mensur Dlakic, Montana State University


Did you know Yellowstone partners with academic institutions on a variety of research and education projects?

To highlight the years of research on microorganisms that thrive in geyser runoff channels, employees like Virginia and our partners at Montana State University recently developed a new interpretive exhibit at Echinus Geyser supported by funding from the National Science Foundation.

“Norris is one of the most dynamic geyser basins in the park, and we’re excited for this new opportunity for people to learn about an often-overlooked resource. If your travels take you to Norris, don’t forget to stop by the Back Basin and check out the new exhibit!” - Virginia Warner, Media Specialist

Photographing the geology team documenting Cistern Spring after a Steamboat Geyser eruption


Did you know Yellowstone manages a multimedia collection?

When employees like Jake shoot photos and video or record audio for media projects, the public domain content is available for anyone to download and use. So, if you need a video clip for that class project or a photo for your living room, we’ve got you covered.

“I’m fully aware how lucky I am to share Yellowstone with people through photos and video. My favorite project I’ve worked on has been #WhatWeDoWednesdays. Highlighting my coworkers and the work that goes into keeping this park running has been a great learning experience for me. Hopefully everyone enjoys it as much as I have!” - Jake Frank, Audiovisual Production Specialist

Exhibits Specialist, Bianca Klein, looks over exhibit plans for Norris Geyser Basin Museum


Did you know Yellowstone takes the lead in writing, designing, and maintaining over 300 outdoor exhibits and 10,000+ square feet of indoor exhibit space?

Park employees like Bianca work with contractors, researchers, park partners, and park subject-matter experts to encourage visitors to learn something new each time they visit with engaging and up-to-date exhibits.

"My role is to help bring Yellowstone's rich cultural and natural history to life for all who visit. Thanks in great part to partner funding, we're able to provide site-specific interpretation of park resources throughout the park. It's always incredibly fulfilling to see people inspired by one of the park's many exhibits." - Bianca Klein, Exhibit Specialist


Wildland & Structural Fire

Learn about NPS careers that focus on wildland and structural fire. Job titles can include fire ecologist; dispatcher; fire management officer; fire management specialist; wildland fire operations specialist; wildfire operations technician; forestry technician and more.


Northeast Entrance fuels project - monitoring a burn pile


Did you know Yellowstone work to create defensible spaces in the park?

Fire is an important part of Yellowstone's ecosystem, but we also work to protect human lives and the park's developed areas from fire.

In order to create a defensible space, hazard trees are trimmed or cut down, and usable wood is given to firewood permittees or district rangers for various projects. Leftover fuel is stacked and burned when the fire danger is low. These proactive measures minimize the fire intensity, should a wildfire threaten the area.

"Many people don't realize there are nearly 2,000 structures in the park. In addition to actively managing wildfires, we proactively reduce fuel by creating defensible spaces around all of the structures in the park." - Becky Smith, Fire Ecologist

Learn more about fire management in Yellowstone.

Ed Folts, Emergency Operations Center Dispatcher


Did you know Yellowstone has a special team of dispatchers to handle wildland fire, major search and rescue, and aviation activity in the park?

When the 2020 Lone Star Fire was first reported, employees in the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) like Ed coordinated the aircraft involved in sizing up the fire, worked to locate and evacuate backcountry campers, and ordered the resources to manage the fire.

"The variety of situations I get to be a part of as a dispatcher makes the work exciting. In a single week, I will work with Life Flights, air tankers, neighboring dispatch centers, wildlife tracking flights, smokejumpers, as well as our own park's firefighters, search and rescue responders, ambulances, and rangers." - Ed Folts, Dispatcher

Yellowstone structural fire team training (15)


Did you know Yellowstone has a structural fire department?

With over 3 million square feet of structures, including 800 buildings on the National Register of Historic Places, there's no shortage of buildings to protect. The majority of structural fire work consists of preventing fires rather than fighting them, but members of the team participate in controlled, live-fire training to be ready when things go wrong.

"The fire service is constantly improving. New technology and techniques have allowed us to make the historic buildings of the park safer than ever. We do our best to make sure that they'll be here for future generations to enjoy." - Britton Gray, Structural Fire Chief

2019 West Fuels Treatment Project: masticator tool


Did you know Yellowstone actively works to protect nearly 2,000 structures in the park from fire by creating defensible spaces?

One of the new tools we're using in this fight is called a "masticator." This machine changes a forest's fuel load by thinning out standing trees and mulching dead and down woody debris. In a recent project near West Yellowstone, one masticator treated 60 acres of dense lodgepole regrowth in three weeks.

"The opportunity to use the masticator in place of chainsaws allowed us to complete this defensible space project at a fraction of the time and cost. We're finally gaining some ground, and this project represents the future of fuels management in the developed areas at Yellowstone." - John Cataldo, Fire Management Officer

Learn more about fire management in Yellowstone.



Learn about NPS careers that focus on wildlife. Job titles can include biological science technician; natural resource specialist; wildlife biologist; fish biologist and more.


Cougar capture and collar: examining cougar before release


Did you know Yellowstone uses GPS collars to study cougar populations in the park?

During the winter when tracks are easier to follow, employees like Dan will track, dart, take health and body measurements, and place a collar. The data collected helps us learn about their abundance, food and habitat needs, activity patterns, interactions with prey, and how they compete with wolves and bears.

“We’re constantly learning about the cougar’s ecological role in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem and how to better coexist with these large, secretive carnivores.” - Dan Stahler, Senior Wildlife Biologist

Learn more about cougars in Yellowstone.


Lake trout caught by the crew of the NPS Hammerhead


Did you know Yellowstone gillnets lake trout?

A priority of Yellowstone is to maintain healthy, functioning ecosystems: not just on land, but in the water as well. Yellowstone cutthroat trout are a major part of food webs in the park, but they have been in decline due to predation from introduced lake trout. That's why we put out more than 6,000 miles of gillnet each summer and catch hundreds of thousands of lake trout in order to reduce the long-term extinction risk and restore the ecological role of cutthroat trout.

"If the Yellowstone cutthroat trout were to disappear, and we were to allow the lake trout to thrive within the lake, many of the animals that depend on the cutthroat trout would also be displaced or gone." - Todd Koel, Native Fish Conservation Program Leader

Learn more about Yellowstone's Native Fish Conservation Program.

YCC Alpha Crew 2021 Canyon Campground bear box installation: setting a box on foundation


Did you know Yellowstone is working to install bear-proof food storage boxes in all 2,000 frontcountry campsites?

Bear boxes improve visitor safety and reduce the chances a bear or other animal gets human food, which often leads to their removal in management actions. Over the last 10 years, Youth Conservation Corps (YCC) crews and employees like Sam have installed over 1,000 bear boxes. With financial support from Yellowstone Forever, the expected completion date is 2026.

“It's rewarding to help YCC teenagers master new skills like using hand tools, mixing concrete, and team problem solving to place these 400-pound bear boxes. It’s easy to see the tangible results of the crew's hard work and the intangible growth in confidence that comes from knowing they've done something that will help protect visitors and Yellowstone's wildlife for years to come.” - Sam Archibald, YCC Crew Leader

Learn more about Yellowstone Youth Conservation Corps.

Doug Smith, senior wildlife biologist, examines a wolf-killed bull elk skull


Did you know Yellowstone collects data on what wolves eat?

Once a site has been identified, employees like Doug will ski or hike to the location to collect bone and teeth samples from the prey. The data is then added to the 26 years of research since wolves were reintroduced in 1995.

“Yellowstone continues to be one of the best places to observe predator-prey relationships, and the data we collect helps guide wolf research and conservation all over the world.” - Doug Smith, Senior Wildlife Biologist

Learn more about wolves in Yellowstone.

Eric Reinertson, bear management, chats with visitors at a bear jam


Did you know Yellowstone manages people viewing roadside bears?

To protect both bears and visitors, employees like Eric spend over 3,000 hours every summer managing nearly 1,000 “bear jams,” a traffic jam caused by people stopping to watch bears.

“Over the years, we’ve learned that bear management is primarily people management. Our goals are to prevent people feeding bears or getting too close, and making sure they can safely view a wild bear in its natural habitat.” - Eric Reinertson, Bear Management

Extracting total DNA from environmental DNA water filter samples collected in the field.


Did you know Yellowstone has its own wildlife health laboratory to perform disease testing?

In addition to maintaining an archive of samples for the various research projects in the park, employees like Jessica will test up to 1,000 samples collected in the field each year.

"Much of the benefit of having our own lab is savings: in both time and money. Instead of packaging up samples, shipping them to a facility, and waiting weeks to months for results, we can turn around results within a few days." - Jess Richards, Laboratory Manager

A biological technician and Montana State University graduate student take measurements of a grizzly day bed site


Did you know Yellowstone has partnered with Montana State University to study what grizzly bears eat?

While meat is important to grizzlies, most of their diet consists of plants. In 1982, Yellowstone instituted Bear Management Areas (BMA) to restrict human access to areas thought to hold good food resources for grizzly bears. Today, biologists use GPS collars to assess when, where, and most importantly, what grizzlies are eating to ensure BMA's still encompass areas with good food resources.

“Collecting scat tells us a lot about a bear’s diet. When we combine our current data with previous studies, we start to get a better picture of why grizzlies spend time and what foods they utilize in different areas of the park.” - Elise Loggers, MSU Graduate Student

Learn more about grizzly bears in Yellowstone and the diverse stakeholder interests and issues in grizzly bear management by checking out our featured bear publication.

Biologist, Erik Oberg, photographs a firey hunter beetle for the insect macro photography collection


Did you know Yellowstone maintains a macro photography collection of insects?

Employees like Erik use specialized equipment and software to create extreme high-resolution images of insects collected as part of the Yellowstone Climate Monitoring Program. These photos are used to help researchers identify specimens down to the species level, while also giving everyone a closer look at Yellowstone's often-overlooked charismatic microfauna.

"We research insects because they are short-lived, sensitive environmental indicators of ecological health. By documenting the diversity and abundance of several poorly studied groups like beetles, grasshoppers, and ants, we gain a better understanding of the critical ecosystem services they provide, like pollination and nutrient cycling." - Erik Oberg, Biologist

Swan release September 2019 (6): the release


Did you know Yellowstone releases trumpeter swan cygnets into the wild?

In 1919, when swans were first documented in the park, they were considered the last population in the lower 48. By 2010, only seven swans were resident in Yellowstone. Employees like Doug Smith are trying to prevent their extirpation in the short term in two ways: 1) incubating eggs in captivity and releasing day-old cygnets near wild adults, and 2) raising cygnets to 100 days old and relocating them to areas with known breeding pairs.

"After seven years of helping nesting pairs and releasing young cygnets, we finally have two new nesting pairs of trumpeter swans in Yellowstone. One of them is highly visible to the public at appropriately named 'Swan Lake,' where swans have not nested since 1966!" - Doug Smith, Senior Wildlife Biologist

Learn more about trumpeter swans in Yellowstone.

Yellowstone Forever Cougar Course - Colby shows a remote camera and scrape site


Did you know Yellowstone biologists use remote cameras to study wildlife in the park?

These strategically placed cameras help identify and learn about our more secretive wildlife residents, like cougars.

"Using remote cameras is exciting because you never know what’s going to walk in front of them. This tool is great at collecting data to help us paint the big picture of the predators that reside in the park." - Dan Stahler, Wildlife Biologist

Learn more about cougars in Yellowstone.

Yellowstone bison released at Ft. Peck Indian Reservation (2)


Did you know Yellowstone coordinates with Tribal, federal, state, and nonprofit partners to transfer bison to American Indian Tribes?

The Bison Conservation Transfer Program and employees like Chris and Doug have transferred 154 brucellosis-free bison to the Fort Peck Tribes since 2019. Of those, 82 were sent to 17 other Tribes across the country. In partnership with Yellowstone Forever and Greater Yellowstone Coalition, the park plans to more than double the capacity of the program as an alternative to slaughter.

“Not only is the program making history, it’s the right thing to do. Moving bison in coordination with surrounding states gives bison more room to roam and allows people who value bison an opportunity to start new herds across the country.” - Chris Geremia, Senior Bison Biologist

Learn more about Yellowstone's Bison Conservation Transfer Program.

Bison management DNA testing field operation: Ramon Perez, Bison Field Crew Leader, examines a dart with hair and skin sample (2)


Did you know that Yellowstone studies bison genetics?

Starting in 2018, employees like Ramon collect tissue samples from about 100 animals during the mating season. Using a dart gun from a safe distance, specialized punch darts collect a small skin plug and fall to the ground. After the bison walk away, crews collect the dart and prepare the sample for testing.

“Yellowstone is home to the most genetically diverse bison herd in the world. By collecting and analyzing these samples, we’re able to develop management strategies that ensure the herd remains healthy into the future.” - Ramon Perez, Bison Field Crew Lead

Learn more about bison management in Yellowstone.

Yellowstone Bird Program (18): Wildlife Biologist Lauren Walker examines the wing of a red-naped sapsucker


Did you know Yellowstone operates a bird banding station?

Using specialty tools and techniques, birds are captured, studied, banded, and released. As employees like Lauren collect data over time, we can ultimately learn more about how breeding and migrating bird populations respond to changes in climate patterns, fire regimes, and predator/prey relationships. By participating in continent-wide banding programs like Monitoring Avian Productivity and Survivorship (MAPS), we can additionally put the patterns we see during the breeding season in a broader perspective and contribute to the information used to describe patterns in avian populations across North America.

"In total, we've banded 737 birds from 39 unique species. Some rare species include the American redstart, black and white warbler, chestnut-sided warbler, and spotted towhee. Being able to hold and study a bird up-close is truly a unique experience, even for seasoned birders." - Lauren Walker, Bird Biologist

Learn more about birds in Yellowstone.


Last updated: March 28, 2024

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Yellowstone National Park, WY 82190-0168



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