Funding for Wildlife Research, Historic Preservation

BOZEMAN – More than $200,000 in new grants from the Yellowstone Park Foundation will help fund a range of projects in Yellowstone National Park, including bat research, energy use reduction and preservation of the park’s rich heritage.

“While the Yellowstone Park Foundation funds more visible projects in the park such as trail restoration and educational exhibits, much of their important work happens behind the scenes,” said park superintendent Dan Wenk.

YPF has been the official fundraising partner of Yellowstone National Park since 1996. Each year, the park’s superintendent submits proposals to the foundation for priority projects beyond the financial capacity of the National Park Service. The grants approved last month by the foundation’s board of directors are:

• $10,000 to enhance the Geothermal Research Network, a data-sharing collaboration among scientists who study Yellowstone’s 10,000 geysers and other geothermal features

• $15,000 for a research study on little brown bats, a species that could become regionally extinct in the U.S. due to the spread of the disease White-Nose Syndrome

• $40,000 to replace outdated outdoor lighting fixtures in the Mammoth Hot Springs Historic District with energy-efficient LEDs that will decrease light pollution and significantly reduce energy costs

• $10,000 to expand Yellowstone’s oral history collection by recording interviews with individuals who played key roles in wolf reintroduction 17 years ago

• $60,000 for historic documentation and preservation in the Old Faithful Lower Hamilton Store, built in 1897. Work will focus on the “Million Dollar Room,” office of legendary Park concessioner Charles A. Hamilton, who papered the walls with hundreds of cancelled checks totaling $1,839,105

• $10,000 to update outdoor educational exhibits with QR tags, coded graphics which will provide links to in-depth content online so visitors with smart phones can access detailed information, including in foreign languages, on-the-spot

• $60,000 to continue the Stop Aquatic Invaders program, which addresses the serious problem of invasive species in the park’s waters and provides visitor education and boat inspection and cleaning

The foundation also supports several other ongoing, multi-year projects, including the Native Fish Conservation Program, tracking collars for Yellowstone Wolf Project research, the Sponsor a Bear Box program and the Yellowstone Youth Conservation Corps. The group YPF also announced another $1.45 million in grants this March.

“Our role as Yellowstone’s fundraising partner is to follow the needs of the park,” said YPF president Karen Bates Kress. “When Yellowstone has priority needs to meet, we aim to respond as quickly as we can. Citizen stewardship of the park makes that possible.”

The nonprofit Yellowstone Park Foundation is funded by tax-deductible contributions. More than 15,000 individuals, foundations, and corporations donated to the foundation in the past year. The foundation’s mission is to fund projects and programs that protect, preserve and enhance the natural and cultural resources and the visitor experience of Yellowstone National Park. ypf.org