Welcome to my (Claire Stout) blog about my summer internship in Yellowstone National Park. I am brought here by the Student Conservation Association and given a scholarship by Americorps for my college tuition. I am interning under the head ranger at the Tower Ranger Station. This blog contains stories of my adventures and what it is like to live here in the park. There are also photos that contain me, the people I work with, and interesting things I encounter. Feel free to leave a comment and enjoy!

Yellowstone Album 3

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Bear Jams

So if you've been reading any of my earlier posts, you know that about half of my internship consists of these things called Bear Jams. Basically they are traffic jams caused by people who go crazy at the sight of the bear. No, the bear does not cause the jam. It's the people. I've been on bear jams where the bear is about 300 yards off the road and people jump out to get a picture. There was another time where I came across a bear jam and people were parked so that there were three cars across the road. On a bear jam up on Dunraven Pass, there was a jam where these people parked their giant RV in the middle of a curve on a steep slope with no side railing. They had run out of the RV about 100 yrds away from it, turned off the RV and left the keys in the ignition. Sometimes it is frustrating. But most of the times it is ridiculous and I can't help laughing a little inside.
Two days ago I was on a bear jam with two bear Interp Rangers. Interp rangers are the rangers, who usually specialize in something, answer questions to people, and help them better understand certain aspects of the park. I was working a Grizzly jam with to Interp rangers, Eric and Sean. They're both Bear Interp rangers. I was on this jam for six and a half hours. For the first hour we pretty much just watched the sleeping grizzly. People couldn't see it from the road unless they knew it was there. So we were just watching to see if it would wake up. I sat in Eric's Prius just staring out the window. For the next hour after that I started getting really sleepy. Watching a sleeping grizzly bear isn't exactly the most exciting thing after an hour. Finally around 2:30 the grizzly woke up and started walking, (very slowly) towards a pullout. The next two hours consisted of slowly moving people back as the bear moved forward, pointing out where the bear was, etc. And then the thunderstorms came. Lots of thunder, lots of rain.
I got very wet. So I ran to my car to get the new rain jacket Colette let me borrow. I brought a purple rain jacket, but it is not as professional as something green or brown. So I got a green Matrix like jacket that works wonderfully.
After six and a half hours, the bear finally went over a hill out of site, And I could finally go back to patrolling for two more hours.


  1. Six and a half hours?!?! That's insane. I want to see pictures of both of your exciting coats. Also, is the Prius the general vehicle of choice in those parts? ;)

    It rained wicked hard here today too. So much so that we actually had water in our basement which has never happened before. There's been massive flooding around town too. My brother and his friend went canoeing my uncle's front yard.

  2. Haha! the canoeing....
    I'll get pics. And the park would love to have lots of Prius' but Toyota only donated 5 or so.
    Basicly we take what we can get. The old Chevy Suburbans serve as two of our patrol vehicles.