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Although the mission of Yellowstone National Park is to prevent change to the park’s ecosystem, changes are made in and around the park to simultaneously benefit guests and the environment. There are new rules, technological advancements and renovations to look forward to when visiting the first national park in the U.S.

No drones

With a wave of camera technology, drones became an innovative way to capture incredible images from high above the surface. The human-pilot aircrafts work with a hand-held base controllers, reaching heights of 400 feet.

Drones were not technically permitted nor unauthorized in the park based on the fact that they never really had a presence there – until they did. In June 2014, after concerns about the safety of wildlife and guests arose in response to the use of drones in state parks, a ban was enforced.

In August of that year, a drone was illegally flown in the park, resulting in it crashing into Grand Prismatic Spring. The crashed drone has never been recovered to avoid further damage to the fragile ecosystem.

Flying drones in the park is a serious crime that can result in fines up to $5,000, significant jail time and years of probation.

Webcams

The webcams aren’t totally new but their locations are, especially the newest location perched atop Old Faithful Inn, pointed directly at the parks leading attraction, Old Faithful geyser. The webcam comes complete with an eruption predictor, letting watchers know the exact time the famed geyser will explode. It is the only live-streaming webcam in the park.

Eight more webcams offer static images that provide views of wildlife, current conditions and park entrances at Roosevelt Arch, Electric Peak, Travertine Terraces and Parade Ground, Mount Washburn - Northeastern View, Mount Washburn - Southern View, West Entrance - Current Conditions at Gate, West Entrance - Heading into the Park, and Yellowstone Lake.

Not only do the webcams offer fascinating images but can also help predict traveling into the park. In addition, the webcams have descriptions of history and information that makes the viewing experience even more meaningful.

For more information, visit nps.gov.

Remodeled Mammoth Hotel

Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel and Cabins have been a staple at the park since 1882, when it was originally built and named after the neighboring springs. An additional wing was added for lodging in 1911, as well as the famous Map Room, with its sizeable wooden map of the U.S. The hotel underwent renovations in 1936 and has remain so for the last 60 years – mostly from concern of damaging earthquakes.

Still, the safety and comfort of guests was most important and construction began with accessibility improvements, updated fire protection systems, seismic stabilization and private bathrooms to each guest room. Guests may experience concrete and asphalt work in and around the hotel.

The hotel’s premium rooms have also been recently renovated with larger beds, new furniture, telephones, coffee makers, refrigerators, hair dryers and fans.

The Mammoth also offers frontier cabins, providing only the basic necessities for an overnight stay like a shower, sink and toilet; hot tub cabins, which are exactly like frontier cabins but with a six-person hot tub; and cabin-style units without a private bathroom – but there are shared bathrooms nearby.

And remember, you are in Yellowstone National Park, there is no television or radio, and internet and cell service can be shoddy – enjoy the land, the simplicity of nature, away from the busy world of social media and Netflix. It is a vacation after all.

Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel and Cabins opens April 26 and closes Nov. 3. For more information, call (307) 344-7311 or visit yellowstonenationalparklodges.com.

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