Posted: Jun 5, 2013 11:18 AM by Chet Layman
Updated: Jun 5, 2013 11:21 AM
YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK - It's a scene repeated at faithful regular intervals since recorded time began in Yellowstone National Park. A hole in the earth's crust and water are the basics of what make a geyser.
More than 3 million people visit Yellowstone National Park every year and the vast majority of those visitors will spend some time at Old Faithful. A conference was recently held at the popular travel destination, focusing on making sure Old Faithful stays faithful.
Since before Yellowstone became a park, that Old Faithful combination has been threatened.
"We're the resource protection person who helps clean thermal features of various debris. That includes dead animals, people's belongings, and trees," Old Faithful District Ranger Colleen Rawlings explained.
To build the Old Faithful Inn, Snow Lodge and the education and visitor's center, the underground foundation of Old Faithful has also been endangered
"Digging has been going on forever in this area. I don't know if that's good or bad, it is what it is," said Nancy Ward with is with chief maintenance with the park.
Water pipes, sewer systems and utility lines have all been buried in the Old Faithful area. Some have left visible marks.
"The active manholes they varied from 20 inches to 168 inches in depth and that gives you a sense of where that infrastructure is. It didn't seem to be mostly 168 or mostly 20 inches, it was scattered throughout the whole range," said Ann Rodman with the Yellowstone Center for Resources.
People participating in the conference will not argue that we have changed the water system at Old Faithful, including the sewer systems and water systems that keep places like the Old Faithful Inn going on a regular basis for the 5,000 guests that will stay here overnight or the parking lot where they park. When rain falls, it flows off in to a different area instead of soaking in to the ground like it used to do when Yellowstone was brand new.
This scientific advisory panel will also walk around Old Faithful itself. No decisions will be made by the panel only a report of its findings of what we know about Old Faithful and what still needs to be studied.