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The “Wild Heart of the Continent” in...

April 29th, 2016 by Park County Travel Council | Be the first to comment!

It’s finally here. The May issue of National Geographic magazine is entirely devoted to Yellowstone National Park, here in Yellowstone Country, and I couldn’t be more excited.

The entire 172-page issue is a celebration of the world’s first national park as well as the centennial of the National Park Service. Some of the country’s truly great writers and photographers spent three full years producing the photography and stories, and the resulting package is a timeless, sensitive, thought-provoking portrayal of “America’s Wild Idea.”

Cody’s East Entrance to Yellowstone – the Wildest Way Into Yellowstone.

I’ve already gotten lost in the stories, as the dog-eared copy on my nightstand attests. “The Paradox of the Park,” explores how man struggles with its co-existence with wilderness, and how that dynamic has changed over the years. From an image from 1972 on page 54 showing tourists surrounding and photographing a bear on its hind legs just a few feet away from them, to a group of teens splashing in the Boiling River near Mammoth Hot Springs, the images are beautiful and disturbing, sometimes at the same time.

There are honest profiles of some of the park’s most ardent supporters, such as Dan Wenk, superintendent of Yellowstone National Park; Read More


Pedal Power in Yellowstone Country

April 21st, 2016 by Park County Travel Council | Be the first to comment!

I think bikes, like cowboy boots, should be chosen carefully and suit your mood. And right now, I’m in the mood for a tough, muddy, day-long bicycling adventure that will shake the cobwebs from my winter-softened muscles and test the limits of my endurance. And since it’s springtime, and its Yellowstone Country, it is likely to be a snowy ride – at least in the high country — in addition to sweaty one. I can’t wait.

Instead of my cute fuchsia cruiser bike with the wire basket and the bell – the bike I save for around-town excursions – I’m getting out my trusty blue ten-speed, checking the air pressure in the tires and oiling the gears in preparation for some spring cycling in Yellowstone National Park.

When cycling in Yellowstone, be sure to check road opening dates.

Cycling in Yellowstone takes some planning. The first thing my friends and I do when we plan a spring cycling outing in the park is check the National Park Service website to find out road opening dates. Typically, the first roads to open are from the West Yellowstone entrance, but driving from Cody to West Yellowstone isn’t practical when most park roads are still Read More


It’s Baby Season in Cody

April 12th, 2016 by Park County Travel Council | Be the first to comment!

Do you know how there’s supposedly a spike in babies born nine months after major blizzards, hurricanes, New Year’s Eve and Dan Miller concerts?

It’s easy to “spot” baby fawns

Well, here in Buffalo Bill’s Cody/Yellowstone Country we see a run on critters every spring, but I am pretty sure it’s just nature’s way of giving animals their best chance of survival by making sure they arrive as the weather is warming up and food sources are most plentiful.

My friends and I love to compare notes on wildlife watching, and we even have a friendly competition to see who spots the first bear after the winter hibernation. I thought I won this year, but my grizzly turned out to be a fishing guide who had not shaved for a few weeks.

Now that we are well into April we can expect to see way more than our fair share of wildlife here in Yellowstone Country.

For example:

Baby black bears are learning to climb

• Grizzly and black bears have emerged from hibernation and many are showing up with babies, often two at a time. Those bears are finding winterkill, wildlife in a weakened state and fish in our rivers and streams.

• Bison calves Read More


Cody’s Big Year

March 22nd, 2016 by Park County Travel Council | Be the first to comment!

This is a big year here in Buffalo Bill’s Cody/Yellowstone Country, and I couldn’t be more excited. My calendar is full of anniversaries, milestones and noteworthy events that will be taking place in Cody and our favorite neighbor, Yellowstone National Park. Here are examples of some of the big birthdays and anniversaries happening this year:

Cody turns 120 this year, and if you ask me, our little town has never looked better. The town was founded by Buffalo Bill Cody in 1896. To truly appreciate our town founder’s progressive vision, take a leisurely stroll down Sheridan Avenue and notice the wide streets, the common-sense layout of the town and the terrific collection of shops, restaurants and comfortable gathering places. His town-planning strategies seem modern and pragmatic, even today.

Cody turns 120 this year!

Buffalo Bill Cody’s 170th birthday was on February 26. Although he died 99 years ago we still celebrate his birthday every year. The Buffalo Bill Birthday Ball is a cowboy-centric party that is always held on the Saturday closest to his birthday. Since Buffalo Bill had the good sense to be born in February, the residents of Cody are happy for a late-winter respite, with music, dancing and eating. Read More

For the Best Yellowstone Vacation, Start...

March 14th, 2016 by Park County Travel Council | Be the first to comment!

As winter gives way to spring, I start to hear from old friends who are thinking about their summer vacations. Invariably, they ask for my counsel on planning a summer vacation to my slice of paradise. Specifically, they usually want my help visiting Yellowstone National Park and our area.

I am always happy to share my knowledge as well as my recommendations about what to do, where to stay and which cowboy musician is telephone number-worthy.

While each vacation will be different, there are several things I always recommend.

First of all, the best way to appreciate a Yellowstone vacation is to start it in Cody, Wyo., the wildest way in to the world’s first national park.

The first stop I recommend is to go to the Buffalo Bill Center of the West and head to the Draper Natural History Museum. At the Draper’s top level, you can look at a floor map of the region that helps you get your bearings and see where Cody, Park County, the park and the whole Yellowstone ecosystem fit together. From that top level are ramps that go down in a counter clockwise pattern with interpretive displays on specific topics such as the area’s wildlife, how forest Read More


Dude, I want to share a secret with you.

March 7th, 2016 by Park County Travel Council | Be the first to comment!

Did you know the term “Dude” actually originated here in Cody, Wyo.? No, it’s not from the surfer beaches of California or a junior high locker room.

Back when the park – we locals refer to Yellowstone as “the park” – was still a baby in the 1870s the people who made a living taking tourists around the thermal features came up with the term to describe any visitor from the East. The term quickly evolved to describe anyone who hired a guide to show them the West and our lifestyle.

Being proud Westerners, ranchers often hosted guests who wanted to stay for a week or two or three and experience the cowboy life. It did not take long, however, before enough people started visiting that it became prohibitively costly for the ranchers to shelter and feed these visitors.

The answer to this dilemma? Ranchers began reluctantly asking their guests to pay a fee to stay and help with chores around the property. The guests were more than happy to pay these fees, and a new segment of the hospitality industry was born.

The first “dude ranch” dates back to the 1880s and was the Custer Trail Ranch in the Dakota Badlands east of Read More


Comparing Notes With Other Tourism Folks

February 28th, 2016 by Park County Travel Council | Be the first to comment!

I don’t know about you, but I can always tell what time of year it is here in Cody without even looking at the calendar. Colorful lights means Christmas is approaching. The first day I see that huge car with the loudspeakers bolted on the roof and longhorns attached to the hood means the start of June and the Cody Nite Rodeo. Dan Miller walking down the street in a cupid outfit must mean that it’s Valentine’s Day.

Okay, I made that last one up. But I can hope…

Cody, the wildest way into Yellowstone.

If it’s late in February, it must mean that I have just gotten home from the Wyoming Governor’s Conference on Tourism. We all know that Wyoming is a big state, and I am reminded of our glorious open spaces, soaring mountain ranges and stunning beauty when I make my annual drive to our state capital of Cheyenne every year for the conference.

I lived in the big city where there are more people crammed into 10 square miles than we have in our whole state of almost 100,000 square miles (97,818 to be exact), and I am reminded of one of the main reasons I came home and Read More


A Ski Resort for the Rest of Us

February 22nd, 2016 by Park County Travel Council | Be the first to comment!

I’m a skier, and I think the sport is awesome. But I’m not an awesome skier. I like my meandering blues and greens, but my days of double-black moguls are long gone. In fact, they never really even existed. And when I drive west for a day of winter fun at Sleeping Giant Ski Area, none of this matters in the least.

Why the confession? Because as the unofficial ambassador for all things Yellowstone Country, I want to remind my readers Sleeping Giant Ski Area is one of the family-friendliest, prettiest, most well-managed ski areas you’ll ever want to visit. For those of us happily in the green- and blue-run category, there are more than enough runs to keep us energized and entertained. In fact, 55 percent of the entire mountain – 26 runs in all – are blue and green. My friends who love the moguls find plenty of challenging runs too, with 45 percent of the terrain and 21 runs in the expert category.

Events at Sleeping Giant are fun for the entire family.

And for stat-lovers, here are a few other fun facts about Sleeping Giant. It has a total of 184 skiable acres, 47 runs, a base elevation Read More


Happy Birthday, You Know Who

February 16th, 2016 by Park County Travel Council | Be the first to comment!

So what do you get a guy heading into his 18th decade?

Around here that is a legitimate question since Feb. 26 marks Buffalo Bill Cody’s 170th birthday. Because we have thrown parties for reasons significantly less important, this event will be commemorated by a lot more than cake in the company break room.

Here in Cody we will start things off on his birthday – Friday, Feb. 26 – with the Cody High School FFA’s annual wreath-laying ceremony at the sculpture Buffalo Bill – The Scout at 11 a.m. Artist Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney created this sculpture, and it was instrumental in the development of the Whitney Gallery of Western Art and the Buffalo Bill Center of the West.

Local tradition of the Future Farmers of America (FFA) laying a wreath at the “Scout” statue.

From 5-7 p.m. that day the Center of the West will host the “Buffalo Bill Birthday Bash” featuring the Buffalo Bill Band, birthday cake, light hors d’oeuvres, family activities and a cash bar.

 The next day will see “Buffalo Bill Birthday Ball” at the town’s Wolfville Hall from 5-11 p.m. One of Cody’s major events, the Buffalo Bill Birthday Ball features music, dancing, dinner and Wild West entertainment. The Read More


Walking my way through winter

February 8th, 2016 by Park County Travel Council | Be the first to comment!

Although Cody winters are relatively mild compared to many parts of the country, by about February, some of my friends and neighbors in Buffalo Bill’s Cody/Yellowstone Country are starting to show signs of cabin fever.

My neighbor barely returned my wave when we were both out shoveling the other day, and when declining my invitation to join me for some prime rib at the Irma Hotel followed by a drink in the Chamberlin Inn’s solarium, my best friend informed me that she wasn’t emerging from her house until the first bears start emerging from theirs. (Last year the first den-exiting bear was sighted on Feb. 9, so my rather dramatic friend may not have long to wait.)

The Center of the West grounds offers great areas to walk.

But I have a better solution to grumbling or hiding until the end of winter: strap on your step-tracker and walk it off. Like nearly else everyone around here, I have a good pair of heavily treaded, waterproof hiking boots. And from now until spring I intend to wear them every day and go for a walk or hike.

Buffalo Bill’s Cody/Yellowstone Country is home to more than 25 developed parks and miles of trails. Read More