Although the official opening date for highway 212 from Pilot to Cooke City is next saturday May 10th, the plow crews have been hard at work and as of today the NE entrance to Yellowstone is open!
I took the chance, drove the road, and saw the plows were completing their finishing touches on the remaining slush by Fox Creek bridge. It’s still mostly winter up there, with Pilot and Index covered in snow and the Clark’s Fork River barely muddy.
While Cooke City has plenty of snow, the Lamar is lower and so open, yet the green up has barely begun there. Tourists drive in from the Mammoth side, then turn around, yet a few passed me leaving the Park’s NE entrance towards Cody.
I’d left late since I didn’t know if the road was passable, so I just spent some time in the Lamar. Here are a few sightings.
As of December 2013, the wolf count in the Park was 95. Yet there were only 2 Lamar Canyons. So seeing a wolf in the Lamar is pretty slim right now. Who knows how many pups might show up this spring. With an increased hunting quota being suggest by Wyoming Game and Fish for fall 2014, it’s likely that the Lamar pack will continue to stay small. This pack tends to follow the fall elk migration eastward outside the Park. Park wolves that are used to people are easy targets for hunters, whereas the wolves that have been through two hunts so far are rightfully scared of humans. To me it makes good sense to create a buffer zone around the Park, or at least drastically reduce the quota in areas outside the Park where wolves tend to migrate or overlap in their territory. Here is the link to comment on the proposed hunt increases for this fall. Deadline for comments is May 30th.