Thursday, September 5, 2002
Yellowstone: A World of Geothermal Wonders
Team North has finally crossed the Continental Divide to the east, and will be staying tonight at Madison Campground, at the confluence of the Firehole River and the Madison River. This campground is convieniently located between some of the most popular attractions of Yellowstone National Park.
To the north is the Norris Geyser Basin, where visitors not only enjoy many spectacular geysers and paint pots (boiling, multi--colored mud), but also the Museum of the National Park Ranger. The Norris Basin also contains the largest geyser in the world, Steamboat Geyser, which reaches about 300 feet during eruptions. To the south are three more geyser basins, where visitors find many more paint pots and geysers, including the famous Old Faithful geyser, which delights visitors about every 76 minutes. Other attractions in this area include hot springs surrounded by intricate mineralized terraces and colorful bacterial rings, some of which occasionally "dome" from the superheated water.
These famous and much-visited attractions are only a tiny part of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, one of the largest intact temperate ecosystems in the world. Today Team North will meet with representatives from the Park Service and USGS to discuss the Greater Yellowstone Initiative, a scientific initiative which enables educated decisions as the agencies struggle to keep the ecosystem intact while permitting not only recreation, but the many other uses of the surrounding forests.