Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone National Park is an American national park located in the western United States, largely in the northwest corner of Wyoming and extending into Montana and Idaho. It was established by the 42nd U.S. Congress with the Yellowstone National Park Protection Act and signed into law by President Ulysses S. Grant on March 1, 1872. Yellowstone was the first national park in the U.S. and is also widely held to be the first national park in the world. The park is known for its wildlife and its many geothermal features, especially the Old Faithful geyser, one of its most popular. While it represents many types of biomes, the subalpine forest is the most abundant. It is part of the South Central Rockies forests ecoregion.

While Native Americans have lived in the Yellowstone region for at least 11,000 years, aside from visits by mountain men during the early-to-mid-19th century, organized exploration did not begin until the late 1860s. Management and control of the park originally fell under the jurisdiction of the United States Department of the Interior, the first Secretary of the Interior to supervise the park being Columbus Delano. However, the U.S. Army was eventually commissioned to oversee management of Yellowstone for a 30-year period between 1886 and 1916.[13] In 1917, administration of the park was transferred to the National Park Service, which had been created the previous year. Hundreds of structures have been built and are protected for their architectural and historical significance, and researchers have examined more than a thousand archaeological sites.

Yellowstone National Park spans an area of 3,468.4 sq mi (8,983 km2), comprising lakes, canyons, rivers, and mountain ranges. Yellowstone Lake is one of the largest high-elevation lakes in North America and is centered over the Yellowstone Caldera, the largest supervolcano on the continent. The caldera is considered a dormant volcano. It has erupted with tremendous force several times in the last two million years.[14] Well over half of the world's geysers and hydrothermal features are in Yellowstone, fueled by this ongoing volcanism. Lava flows and rocks from volcanic eruptions cover most of the land area of Yellowstone. The park is the centerpiece of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, the largest remaining nearly-intact ecosystem in the Earth's northern temperate zone. In 1978, Yellowstone was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Hundreds of species of mammals, birds, fish, reptiles, and amphibians have been documented, including several that are either endangered or threatened. The vast forests and grasslands also include unique species of plants. Yellowstone Park is the largest and most famous megafauna location in the contiguous United States. Grizzly bears, wolves, and free-ranging herds of bison and elk live in this park. The Yellowstone Park bison herd is the oldest and largest public bison herd in the United States. Forest fires occur in the park each year; in the large forest fires of 1988, nearly one third of the park was burnt. Yellowstone has numerous recreational opportunities, including hiking, camping, boating, fishing, and sightseeing. Paved roads provide close access to the major geothermal areas as well as some of the lakes and waterfalls. During the winter, visitors often access the park by way of guided tours that use either snow coaches or snowmobiles.


The park contains the headwaters of the Yellowstone River, from which it takes its historical name. Near the end of the 18th century, French trappers named the river Roche Jaune, which is probably a translation of the Hidatsa name Mi tsi a-da-zi ("Yellow Rock River").[20] Later, American trappers rendered the French name in English as "Yellow Stone". Although it is commonly believed that the river was named for the yellow rocks seen in the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, the Native American name source is unclear.

The human history of the park began at least 11,000 years ago when Native Americans began to hunt and fish in the region. During the construction of the post office in Gardiner, Montana, in the 1950s, an obsidian point of Clovis origin was found that dated from approximately 11,000 years ago.[22] These Paleo-Indians, of the Clovis culture, used the significant amounts of obsidian found in the park to make cutting tools and weapons. Arrowheads made of Yellowstone obsidian have been found as far away as the Mississippi Valley, indicating that a regular obsidian trade existed between local tribes and tribes farther east.[23] By the time white explorers first entered the region during the Lewis and Clark Expedition in 1805, they encountered the Nez Perce, Crow, and Shoshone tribes. While passing through present-day Montana, the expedition members heard of the Yellowstone region to the south, but they did not investigate it.

In 1806, John Colter, a member of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, left to join a group of fur trappers. After splitting up with the other trappers in 1807, Colter passed through a portion of what later became the park, during the winter of 1807–1808. He observed at least one geothermal area in the northeastern section of the park, near Tower Fall.[24] After surviving wounds he suffered in a battle with members of the Crow and Blackfoot tribes in 1809, Colter described a place of "fire and brimstone" that most people dismissed as delirium; the supposedly mystical place was nicknamed "Colter's Hell". Over the next 40 years, numerous reports from mountain men and trappers told of boiling mud, steaming rivers, and petrified trees, yet most of these reports were believed at the time to be myth.

After an 1856 exploration, mountain man Jim Bridger (also believed to be the first or second European American to have seen the Great Salt Lake) reported observing boiling springs, spouting water, and a mountain of glass and yellow rock. These reports were largely ignored because Bridger was a known "spinner of yarns". In 1859, a U.S. Army Surveyor named Captain William F. Raynolds embarked on a two-year survey of the northern Rockies. After wintering in Wyoming, in May 1860, Raynolds and his party—which included naturalist Ferdinand Vandeveer Hayden and guide Jim Bridger—attempted to cross the Continental Divide over Two Ocean Plateau from the Wind River drainage in northwest Wyoming. Heavy spring snows prevented their passage, but had they been able to traverse the divide, the party would have been the first organized survey to enter the Yellowstone region.[26] The American Civil War hampered further organized explorations until the late 1860s.

The first detailed expedition to the Yellowstone area was the Cook–Folsom–Peterson Expedition of 1869, which consisted of three privately funded explorers. The Folsom party followed the Yellowstone River to Yellowstone Lake.[28] The members of the Folsom party kept a journal- based on the information it reported, a party of Montana residents organized the Washburn–Langford–Doane Expedition in 1870. It was headed by the surveyor-general of Montana Henry Washburn, and included Nathaniel P. Langford (who later became known as "National Park" Langford) and a U.S. Army detachment commanded by Lt. Gustavus Doane. The expedition spent about a month exploring the region, collecting specimens and naming sites of interest.

A Montana writer and lawyer named Cornelius Hedges, who had been a member of the Washburn expedition, proposed that the region should be set aside and protected as a national park; he wrote detailed articles about his observations for the Helena Herald newspaper between 1870 and 1871. Hedges essentially restated comments made in October 1865 by acting Montana Territorial Governor Thomas Francis Meagher, who had previously commented that the region should be protected.[30] Others made similar suggestions. In an 1871 letter from Jay Cooke to Ferdinand V.Hayden, Cooke wrote that his friend, Congressman William D. Kelley had also suggested "Congress pass a bill reserving the Great Geyser Basin as a public park forever".


Starting in 1914, in an effort to protect elk populations, the U.S. Congress appropriated funds to be used for the purposes of "destroying wolves, prairie dogs, and other animals injurious to agriculture and animal husbandry" on public lands. Park Service hunters carried out these orders, and by 1926 they had killed 136 wolves. Gradually, wolves were virtually eliminated from Yellowstone.[116] Further exterminations continued until the National Park Service ended the practice in 1935. With the passing of the Endangered Species Act in 1973, the wolf was one of the first mammal species listed.[116] After the wolves were extirpated from Yellowstone, the coyote then became the park's top canine predator. Since the coyote is not able to bring down large animals, this lack of an apex predator resulted in a marked increase in lame and sick megafauna.[citation needed]

By the 1990s, the Federal government had reversed its views on wolves. In a controversial decision by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (which oversees threatened and endangered species), northwestern wolves imported from Canada were reintroduced into the park. Reintroduction efforts have been successful, with populations remaining relatively stable. A survey conducted in 2005 reported that there were 13 wolf packs, totaling 118 individuals in Yellowstone and 326 in the entire ecosystem. These park figures were lower than those reported in 2004, but may be attributable to wolf migration to other nearby areas as suggested by the substantial increase in the Montana population during that interval.[117] Almost all the wolves documented were descended from the 66 wolves reintroduced in 1995–96.[117] The recovery of populations throughout the states of Wyoming, Montana and Idaho has been so successful that on February 27, 2008, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service removed the Northern Rocky Mountain wolf population from the endangered species list.[118]

The History of wolves in Yellowstone included extirpation, absence and reintroduction of the gray wolf (Canis lupus) to Yellowstone National Park. The reintroduction of wolves was controversial as it is with the worldwide reintroduction of wolves. When Yellowstone National Park was created in 1872, wolf populations were already in decline in Montana, Wyoming and Idaho.[not verified in body] The creation of the national park did not provide protection for wolves or other predators, and government predator control programs in the first decades of the 1900s essentially helped eliminate the gray wolf from Yellowstone. The last wolves were killed in Yellowstone in 1926. After that, sporadic reports of wolves still occurred, but scientists confirmed that sustainable wolf populations had been extirpated and were absent from Yellowstone during the mid-1900s.[not verified in body]

Starting in the 1940s, park managers, biologists, conservationists, and environmentalists began, what would ultimately turn into, a campaign to reintroduce the gray wolf into Yellowstone National Park. When the Endangered Species Act of 1973 was passed, the road to legal reintroduction was clear. In 1995, gray wolves were reintroduced into Yellowstone in the Lamar Valley.

In 1872, when Yellowstone National Park was created, there was no legal protection for wildlife in the park yet. In the early years of the park, administrators, hunters, and tourists were essentially free to kill any game or predator they came across. The gray wolf was especially vulnerable to this wanton killing because it was generally considered an undesirable predator and was being willingly extirpated throughout its North American range. In January 1883, the Secretary of the Interior issued regulations prohibiting the hunting of most park animals, but the regulations did not apply to wolves, coyotes, bears, mountain lions, and other small predators.[1]

Shortly after the U.S. Army took over admin of the park on August 1, 1890, Captain Moose Harris, the first military superintendent, allowed public hunting of any wildlife and any predator control was to be left to the park's administration.[2] Official records show however, that the U.S. Army did not begin killing any wolves until 1914.[3]

In 1885, Congress created the Division of Economic Ornithology and Mammalogy with the express purpose of research for the protection of wildlife. The agency soon became the U.S. Biological Survey which was the forerunner of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. In 1907, under political pressure from the western cattle and livestock industries, this agency began a concerted program which eventually was called: Animal Damage Control. This predator control program alone killed 1,800 wolves and 23,000 coyotes in 39 U.S. National Forests in 1907.[3] In 1916, when the National Park Service was created, its enabling legislation included words that authorized the Secretary of the Interior to "provide in his discretion for the destruction of such animals and of such plant life as may be detrimental to the use of said parks, monuments and reservations".[3]

It is generally accepted that sustainable gray wolf packs had been extirpated from Yellowstone National Park by 1926,[1] although the National Park Service maintained its policies of predator control in the park until 1933.[3] However, a 1975–77 National Park Service sponsored study revealed that during the period 1927 to 1977, there were several hundred probable sightings of wolves in the park.[4] Between 1977 and the re-introduction in 1995, there were additional reliable sightings of wolves in the park, most believed to be singles or pairs transiting the region.[5]

Once the wolves were gone, elk populations began to rise. Over the next few years, conditions of Yellowstone National Park declined drastically. A team of scientists visiting Yellowstone in 1929 and 1933 reported, "The range was in deplorable conditions when we first saw it, and its deterioration has been progressing steadily since then." By this time many biologists were worried about eroding land and plants dying off. The elk were multiplying inside the park and deciduous, woody species such as aspen and cottonwood suffered from overgrazing. The park service started trapping and moving the elk and, when that was not effective, killing them. Elk population control methods continued for more than 30 years. Elk control prevented further degradation of the range, but didn't improve its overall condition. At times, people would mention bringing wolves back to Yellowstone to help control the elk population. Yellowstone's managers were not eager to bring back wolves, especially after so successfully extirpating them from the park. Elk control continued into the 1960s. In the late 1960s, local hunters began to complain to their congressmen that there were too few elk, and the congressmen threatened to stop funding Yellowstone. Killing elk was given up as a control method which allowed elk populations to again rise. As elk populations rose, the quality of the range decreased affecting many other animals. Without wolves, coyote populations increased dramatically which adversely impacted the pronghorn antelope population.[9] However, it was the overly large elk populations that caused the most profound changes to the ecosystem of Yellowstone with the absence of wolves.[10]

In January 1995, U.S. and Canadian wildlife officials captured 14 wolves from multiple packs east of Jasper National Park, near Hinton, Alberta, Canada. These wolves arrived in Yellowstone in two shipments—January 12, 1995 (8 wolves) and January 20, 1995 (6 wolves). They were released into three acclimation pens—Crystal Creek, Rose Creek and Soda Butte Creek in the Lamar Valley in Northeast East Yellowstone National Park. In March 1995, the pens were opened and between March 21 and March 31, 1995, all 14 wolves were loose in Yellowstone.[18]

Seventeen additional wolves captured in Canada arrived in Yellowstone in January 1996 and were released into the park in April 1996 from the Chief Joseph, Lone Star, Druid Peak and Nez Perce pens. The reintroductions were planned on taking 3-5 years but these were the last wolves released into the park as officials believed that the natural reproduction and survival were sufficient.[18][19][20]

Scientists have been researching and studying the impacts on the Yellowstone ecosystem since re-introduction in 1995.

As the wolf population in the park has grown, the elk population, their favored prey, has declined. Prior to reintroduction, the EIS predicted that wolves would kill an average 12 elk per wolf annually. This estimate proved too low as wolves are now killing an average of 22 elk per wolf annually.[36] This decline in elk has resulted in changes in flora, most specifically willows, cottonwoods and aspens along the fringes of heavily timbered areas. Although wolf kills are directly attributable to declines in elk numbers, some research has shown that elk behavior has been significantly altered by wolf predation. The constant presence of wolves have pushed elk into less favorable habitats, raised their stress level, lowered their nutrition and their overall birth rate.[37]

The wolves became significant predators of coyotes after their reintroduction. Since then, in 1995 and 1996, the local coyote population went through a dramatic restructuring. Until the wolves returned, Yellowstone National Park had one of the densest and most stable coyote populations in America due to a lack of human impacts. Two years after the wolf reintroductions, the pre-wolf population of coyotes had been reduced to 50% through both competitive exclusion and intraguild predation. Coyote numbers were 39% lower in the areas of Yellowstone where wolves were reintroduced. In one study, about 16% of radio-collared coyotes were preyed upon by wolves. Yellowstone coyotes have had to shift their territories as a result, moving from open meadows to steep terrain. Carcasses in the open no longer attract coyotes; when a coyote is chased on flat terrain, it is often killed. They feel more secure on steep terrain where they will often lead a pursuing wolf downhill. As the wolf comes after it, the coyote will turn around and run uphill. Wolves, being heavier, cannot stop and the coyote gains a large lead. Though physical confrontations between the two species are usually dominated by the larger wolves, coyotes have been known to attack wolves if they outnumber them. Both species will kill each other's pups given the opportunity.[38][39]

Coyotes, in their turn, naturally suppress foxes, so the diminished coyote population has led to a rise in foxes, and "That in turn shifts the odds of survival for coyote prey such as hares and young deer, as well as for the small rodents and ground-nesting birds the foxes stalk. These changes affect how often certain roots, buds, seeds and insects get eaten, which alters the balance of local plant communities, and so on down the food chain all the way to fungi and microbes."[40]

The presence of wolves has also coincided with a dramatic rise in the park's beaver population; where there was just one beaver colony in Yellowstone in 2001, there were nine beaver colonies in the park by 2011. The presence of wolves seems to have encouraged elk to browse more widely, diminishing their pressure on stands of willow, a plant that beavers need to survive the winter.[41] The renewed presence of beavers in the ecosystem has substantial effects on the local watershed because the existence of beaver dams "even[s] out the seasonal pulses of runoff; store[s] water for recharging the water table; and provide[s] cold, shaded water for fish."[42] Beaver dams also counter erosion and create "new pond and marsh habitats for moose, otters, mink, wading birds, waterfowl, fish, amphibians and more."[40]

Similarly, after the wolves' reintroduction, their increased predation of elk benefited Yellowstone's grizzly bear population, as it led to a significant increase in the growth of berries in the national park, an important food source for the grizzly bears.[43]

Wolf kills are scavenged by and thus feed a wide array of animals, including, but not limited to, ravens, wolverines, bald eagles, golden eagles, grizzly bears, black bears, jays, magpies, martens and coyotes.[40]

Meanwhile, wolf packs often claim kills made by cougars, which has driven that species back out of valley hunting grounds to their more traditional mountainside territory.[40]

The top-down effect of the reintroduction of an apex predator like the wolf on other flora and fauna in an ecosystem is an example of a trophic cascade.

Because gray wolf populations in Montana, Wyoming and Idaho had recovered sufficiently to meet the goals of the Wolf Recovery Plan, on May 4, 2008, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service changed the status of the gray wolf population known as the Northern Rocky Mountain Distinct Population Segment from Endangered to Experimental Population-Non Essential.[14]

The wolves in Yellowstone and the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem fall within this population. In response to the change in status, state wildlife authorities in Idaho and Montana enacted quota-based hunting seasons on wolves as part of their approved state Wolf Management Plans. Environmental groups objected to the delisting and the hunting seasons, but despite legal attempts to stop them (Defenders of Wildlife et al. v Ken Salazar et al.), the wolf hunts, which commenced in Montana in September 2009 were allowed to proceed.[citation needed]

Although wolves within the park boundaries were still fully protected, wolves that ventured outside the boundaries of the park in Idaho or Montana could now be legally hunted. During these hunts, Montana hunters legally killed a number of wolves in the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness known to frequent the northeast corner of the park.[44]

Yellowstone is widely held to be the world’s first national
park. It spans over 3,500 square miles of lakes, canyons,
rivers, and mountain ranges, primarily in Wyoming but with
parts in Montana and Idaho. Forests cover about 80% of
its area, particularly sub-alpine forests. It’s especially famous
for its large number of geothermal features, including the
geyser Old Faithful, most of which are fed by a massive
and entirely active supervolcano.

The wolf population of the park itself is relatively small
due to purges that took place in the first decades of the
20th century. Wolves only returned to the area in the late
1990s, and there are currently about 300 in and around
the park. Despite competition with grizzly bears, which
outnumber them by nearly 2 to 1 and compete for food,
the wolf population is slowly growing.

The region has one of the highest densities of caerns
in the world, and several tribes of Garou have disputes over
control of them. The Uktena held these lands for millennia,
but the wolf Kinfolk from Canada used to repatriate
the region include Children of Gaia, Get of Fenris, Red
Talons, Shadow Lords, Silver Fangs, and even Wendigo. All
of these tribes have some claim on the region, though have
only two or three werewolves in the area at any one time.

Places of Note


The Continental Divide passes through
Yellowstone, with approximately one third to its west and
two thirds to its east. The Snake River and the Yellowstone
River have sources quite near each other but on opposite
sides of the divide, so the Snake River flows west into the
Pacific Ocean while the Yellowstone River flows south and
east until it ultimately empties into the Gulf of Mexico.

There are 70 named mountain peaks in Yellowstone Park, and Garou control a few caerns of note in the mountains:

Snake River Caern: This caern lies between the sources of the Snake and Yellowstone Rivers, on the Continental Divide exactly between them. The Children of Gaia currently occupy it, although it is open to anyone in need of healing. It is inhabited by Water and Wolf spirits, as well as peaceful earth elementals.

Eagle Peak Caern: Named because the mountain resembles a spread eagle, this peak is the highest point in the park. The Silver Fangs currently claim this caern over the objections of the Uktena. Eagle and Falcon spirits visit this caern frequently.

Electric Peak Caern: Electric Peak is the tallest mountain in the Gallatin Range of southern Montana. This caern lies near the top of the mountain, between two arms of rock on the northern face. The Shadow Lords guard it fiercely, and with good reason. The Get of Fenris have already made one attempt to claim it as their own and are unlikely to give up after the first sortie. It is inhabited by Storm spirits that take delight in destroying any electronics that enter their territory.

Roaring Mountain Caern: Roaring Mountain was named for the numerous fumaroles on the western slope of the peak. These openings in the ground emit steam and were once loud enough to be heard for several miles. The Uktena control the caern located among these fumaroles, although they sometimes grant access to outsiders.

Rivers and Waterfalls: Although fire spirits make their presence known more keenly, water spirits have plenty of places to play among Yellowstone Park’s dozens of waterfalls, many rivers, and deep canyons. As with its mountains, Yellowstone’s waterfalls hold secrets.

Undine Falls Caern: Between the upper and lower waterfalls is a small, swirling pool. Under the light of the full moon, it sometimes reflects events in far-off places or even in the past and future. Water spirits called Undines are garrulous and friendly so long as visitors do not attempt to enter the pool. Legends say the river bed hides a secret treasure the Undines are tasked with protecting. The caern is nominally under the control of the Uktena, although a pack made up of three different tribes are its official guardians.

Tower Fall Caern: The top of this 130 foot waterfall is flanked by numerous towers of stone created by the erosion of the soft volcanic stone on the upper ledge. This caern itself is located in the pool at the bottom of the falls, but any moon bridge opened here can only be accessed by leaping off the top of the falls from one of the stone towers. However, the range of this caern’s moon bridges is much greater than usual, as it can open moon bridges to caerns up to 3,000 miles away. Get of Fenris lay claim to this caern, which is populated by spirits of Travel and Lunes, as well as water elementals.

Childhood Dream Falls Caern: This caern is hidden in the woods a few hundred yards from the base of this small waterfall — just close enough for a wolf’s ears to hear the murmuring of the water as it strikes the rocks below. A Garou who sleeps in Lupus under her auspice moon at this caern dreams of one of her ancestors and can carry on a short conversation with him, possibly learning Gifts or recovering lost knowledge. On other nights, she may dream of Chimerlings. By day, spirits of Shadow and Forest gather in the caern. The Shadow Lords currently lay claim to this place, but the Wendigo have their eyes on it.

Yellowstone Hot Spot: Yellowstone lies on top of the massive supervolcano that has produced four of the ten most violent volcanic eruptions the world has seen in the last 28 million years. The visions of some seers warn that the next such eruption is coming soon.

The Yellowstone Caldera, the ultimate source of Yellowstone’s
impressive geothermal repertoire, lurks beneath
Yellowstone Lake. Fire spirits and elementals dominate in
the fumaroles, hot springs, and geysers of Yellowstone Park,
but they are playful insects compared to the spirit of the
caldera. Uktena legends claim one of the few Incarnae left
on Earth is imprisoned beneath Yellowstone Lake, in the
magma chamber below the great caldera left after the last
supereruption. The exact nature of the Yellowstone Spirit is
anybody’s guess, but its province appears
to be the primordial fire of Gaia herself.

You can feel the Yellowstone Spirit’s power throughout
the geysers and fumaroles of the park, in every hot
spring and mudpot. It accepts the sacrifices of Garou
who deliberately subject themselves to the furious heat of
the area’s geothermal features. A blast of boiling water or
superheated steam scalds and scars but also fills the Garou
to the bursting point with Rage.


Yellowstone National Park is perhaps one of the only
places in the world that remains virtually untouched by the
Wyrm. Wolves in the area are no longer considered endangered,
but humans have shown little interest in hunting
our Kinfolk. The greatest threat the wolf population faces
is from the Wyld.

No one knows what if anything prevents the Yellowstone
Spirit from leaving the magma chamber below the caldera. If
some other power binds it there, what will it do if it breaks
those bonds? If it chooses to remain there, what happens if
something inspires it to leave its lair? How does an Incarna
of Gaia’s fiery rage behave if it is not confined to an underground
sea of magma? I’ve heard rumors that some Garou in
the area actually hope to bring forth the Yellowstone Spirit as
a weapon in our war against the Wyrm. Never mind that we
can’t know whether it would devour our enemies or simply
consume the world in its primordial fire.

The Yellowstone Caldera itself presents a potential
deadly danger to all living things within a thousand miles or
more. If its dome of rock collapses into the magma chamber,
the scale of the resulting eruption would dwarf anything
humans as a species have ever experienced. Empowered by
an unleashed Yellowstone Spirit, such an eruption could
wipe out the entire population of wolves and humans on
much of the North American continent. Uktena legends
claim that these eruptions are inextricably linked to the
Yellowstone Spirit, although they disagree on whether the
next major eruption will release the Incarna or whether
releasing the spirit will cause the first such eruption in the
last 640,000 years.

Finally, the Yellowstone Spirit has an often-dangerous
influence on local Garou, as it grants its powerful Rage
to any who sacrifice a part of themselves to it. This is
probably one of the main reasons the Wyrm has never
gotten a foothold here, and even the Weaver’s servants
show respect for Yellowstone and do not disturb its caerns.

However, this Rage enflames most Garou far beyond their
capacity for self-control. Many succumb to frenzy with little
provocation, and I’ve seen two incidents of Garou falling
into the Thrall of the Wyrm during what was supposed to
be merely ritual combat. Add to this the conflict between
tribes over control of caerns, and you have a recipe for
bloody and wholly unnecessary tribal war in the area. Of
course, warning these Garou of the danger will likely only
infuriate them, which is a losing proposition considering
the degree to which they’ve allowed their Rage to rule them.


Increasing the wolf population in Yellowstone further
may attract unwanted attention from human hunters. It
makes a good breeding ground, however, and we can use
it as a staging area for expansion into other parts of the

We need to take steps to defuse the tension between
Garou in the area. If we can bring them to bear against
agents of the Wyrm their Rage will no doubt prove a valuable
asset. I can imagine using the Yellowstone Spirit’s blessing
to raise veritable armies of shock troops where subtlety is
less of a concern than brute killing power.

Finally, I would urge you to take steps to identify
who is trying to set the Yellowstone Spirit free and put a
stop to it. The battlefield value of a manifested Incarna,
although not inconsequential, still is not great enough
to justify the risk of loosing a weapon we cannot control
and that may just as easily turn on us. Even if the Incarna
ultimately joins our war, setting it free may well trigger a
catastrophic volcanic eruption with consequences no less
terrible than would have resulted from a nuclear war. I’m
not convinced that the Garou behind the efforts to unleash
the Yellowstone Spirit have not considered this. More than
likely they consider such an eruption a doomsday device, a
weapon of last resort capable of wiping out all the servants
of both Weaver and Wyrm. That doing so would likely
also obliterate nearly all of Gaia’s creatures is simply an
unfortunate side effect to them.

The Yellowstone Spirit does not communicate
with Garou directly, but sometimes it behaves in
ways that seem to indicate restlessness. A thousand
earthquakes in a year is normal for the region, but
when that climbs to 3,000 in a year or a thousand
in a month, every werewolf in the area knows the
reason. The magma chamber below Yellowstone
Lake fills more each year, pushing the roof of the
caldera above ever higher, but when it rises eight
inches in a single year, wise Garou enact rituals
to calm the spirit. The annual forest fires are a
sacrifice to the Yellowstone Spirit by the Uktena
to placate it so it will not erupt yet.

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