Located on East 2nd Street is the Yellowstone Wildlife Sanctuary. The space originally started as an exotic zoo until a concerned group took action and took over the space, founding the Beartooth Nature Center in 1987. Their mission is now to “provide lifelong sanctuary to non-releasable native wildlife and share a message of conservation and education” (yellowstonewildlifesanctuary.org).
The sanctuary is home to a wide variety of wild animals native to Montana. All of these animals are unable to be reintroduced to the wild for various reason–many because of human interference whether they were attempted to be kept as exotic pets or taken out of the wild and acclimated to human interaction. Each animal has a unique story and circumstance.
The staff and volunteers at the sanctuary not only maintain the animals and their habitats, but work to educate the public about these animals and the importance of conservation. The sanctuary runs a variety of camps and other educational activities for the youth and people of all ages.
The areas surrounding the different habitats feature beautiful gardens and grassy areas, and even a designated picnic area for guests. The sanctuary while maybe not the ideal outcome for any wild animal, is realistically the best case scenario for the ones that ended up here. The staff is friendly and the area pretty and well maintained. It is definitely worth the stop to see some beautiful animals and get educated about them in this area located in the gateway to Yellowstone.
Thousands pass through Gardiner, MT every year from around the world and the country to work at Yellowstone, their employed by Xanterra, Yellowstone’s concessionaire. Their are seven different regions in the park that are their final destinations: Gardiner, MT, Mammoth Hotel, Roosevelt Lodge, Canyon Village, Yellowstone Lake Hotel, Grant Village and Old Faithful Inn. Jobs vary from house keepers to engineer workers to the managers of park locations. All are vital to serve the millions that come to visit the park every year.
For many who come to work at Yellowstone, it becomes their home. Working both the summer and winters seasons, the seasons soon becoming years spent in the park. Gardiner is a life line to the employees of Yellowstone, many who work in interior of the park come to Gardiner for groceries, recreation and community. Many Yellowstoner’s eventually become Gardiner locals. Xanterra is head quartered in Gardiner and Mammoth hot springs.
This is Billy Begay, he has worked for Xanterra for 19 summers as a wangeler at the horse corrals at Canyon Village, deep in the interior of Yellowstone. Billy, comes from the Navajo nation located in south western united states where he winters. Billy trades the heat of southwest summers for the coolness of Yellowstone, the cold of Yellowstone winters for the warmth of his reservation; both Yellowstone and his nation, Billy consider’s home. Billy, loves his work in Yellowstone, and is well known through out the region for his kindness, work hard and stories.
Electric Peak stands as a guardian that looks down from Yellowstone on the small community of Gardiner, MT. Electric Peak is Yellowstone 5th. highest peak at 10,969 feet (3,343 m). Electric Peak was named during the first ascent in 1872 by members of the Hayden Survey. This United States Geological Survey experienced electrical discharges from their hair and hands after a thunder storm enveloped the mountain. Just as Electric peak is a magnet for lighting storms, its gravity can always be sensed in Gardiner. Even on a cloudy day when the peak is concealed by thunder heads, one would know that the mountain watches over this sleepy town.