FAQs

General Questions about the Foundation:

 

 

Questions about Funding and Finances:

 

 

Questions about Park Projects:

 

 

Questions about Park Issues:

 

 

Questions about Helping Yellowstone:

 

 

General Questions about the Foundation:

What is the mission of the Yellowstone Park Foundation?
The Yellowstone Park Foundation works in cooperation with the National Park Service to fund projects and programs that protect, preserve, and enhance the natural and cultural resources and the visitor experience of Yellowstone National Park.

Why does Yellowstone need a foundation? Isn't it funded by the government?
Federal appropriations cover Yellowstone National Park's basic, day-to-day operating needs. But these funds don't cover additional needs such as long-term wildlife research, preservation of historic documents and artifacts, and educational exhibits. Grants from the Yellowstone Park Foundation fund projects such as these, as well as innovative new programs and facilities that help enhance your family's visit to the Park. We provide a margin of excellence, ensuring that Yellowstone will remain the world's premier national park and that its resources will be preserved for generations to come.

Yellowstone looked fine to me on my last visit. Why does it need my help?
The Yellowstone Park Foundation has funded more than 250 projects in Yellowstone since its inception in 1996. We've made possible the rehabilitation of more than two dozen hiking trails, the creation of new exhibits at Fishing Bridge Museum, a major landscape restoration at Artist Point, and many more projects. In fact, if you've visited Yellowstone in the last few years, chances are you've seen or experienced the results of our efforts. To learn about some of the projects we have successfully completed, or are currently working to fund, click here>>.

There are other nonprofit organizations that work on issues or programs related to Yellowstone. How is the Yellowstone Park Foundation unique?
As the official fundraising partner of Yellowstone National Park, the Yellowstone Park Foundation is the only organization dedicated exclusively to raising funds for improvement projects in Yellowstone. All of the funds we raise are devoted specifically to that purpose.

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Questions about Funding and Finances:

How much of my donation is actually spent on protecting, preserving, and enhancing Yellowstone? 
The Yellowstone Park Foundation consistently maintains low overhead costs so that your dollars can have the greatest impact in Yellowstone National Park. Over the past five years, 79 cents of every donation dollar went directly to fund the supervision and implementation of important projects in Yellowstone.  The rest went toward necessary expenses that support our fundraising efforts for Yellowstone such as our office costs, staffing, and essential communication tools like our newsletter and website. For more details, view our Annual Report, IRS 990 form, or Audited Financial Statements

Is the Yellowstone Park Foundation part of the National Park Service?
No. The Yellowstone Park Foundation is a private, nonprofit, 501(c)(3), so your contribution to the Foundation is tax-deductible.

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Questions about Park Projects

How does the Foundation choose which projects to fund?
Yellowstone National Park's Superintendent submits a group of several proposals annually, representing the Park's most pressing funding needs. Then, our volunteer Board of Directors reviews each proposal and commits to funding those that meet the necessary criteria, including importance, urgency, and compatibility with the Foundation's mission.

Who staffs the projects that the Foundation funds?
All projects we fund -- from scientific research to trail rehabilitation, to historic preservation – are performed by National Park Service (NPS) staff. Occasionally, NPS collaborates on projects with other federal or state agencies, universities, or volunteer groups. While the Yellowstone Park Foundation funds the projects and provides budget oversight, we do not work directly on the projects or select project staff, partners, or volunteers.

I have a great idea for a project in Yellowstone… will YPF fund it?
All project proposals need to come to the Yellowstone Park Foundation directly from the Superintendent of Yellowstone National Park (YNP), and YNP is the sole recipient of grants from the Foundation. This policy ensures that we are consistently meeting the Park's most pressing and current needs.

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Questions about Park Issues:

What was the Yellowstone Park Foundation's role in the restoration of wolves to Yellowstone?
The restoration of wild wolves to Yellowstone National Park in 1995 was funded by the federal government in an effort to return this imperiled species to its natural habitat in the greater Yellowstone area. While the Yellowstone Park Foundation did not fund the restoration itself, since 1996 we have provided annual funding for the Yellowstone Wolf Project to research and monitor the wolves and their impacts on the larger ecosystem. In addition, we fund programs to help visitors learn more about wolves and how to view them safely without disturbing their natural habits.

What is covered in Yellowstone's new Winter Use Plan?
The National Park Service has published a final rule to guide winter use in Yellowstone National Park following extensive public review and comment. The flexible allows for public enjoyment, resource protection; the 2013/2014 winter season will serve as a transition year for snowmobiles and snowcoaches. Complete information about the plan can be found on the Park's website here.

What is the Yellowstone Park Foundation's position on bison management in Yellowstone?
The Foundation does not have a position on bison management (please see previous answer). We are not an advocacy or membership organization; we exist for the sole purpose of generating financial support for specific projects in Yellowstone, and accomplish this by creating partnerships with interested individuals, corporations, and foundations. We do, however, fund critical research to help inform the Park's long-term wildlife management plans, such as the Wildlife Health Program.

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Questions about Helping Yellowstone:

How can I help care for Yellowstone?
Your contribution continues the tradition of private philanthropy for Yellowstone dating back more than a century, and enables the Yellowstone Park Foundation to keep making a positive difference in the Park. In addition, spreading the word about the Foundation is a great way to help! You can help us expand our network of people and organizations who share the desire to support Yellowstone. Pass along one of our publications to a friend, forward them our e-newsletter, or encourage them to like us on Facebook or to follow us on any of our many social media channels. They might not be aware that there is a way to help preserve and enhance Yellowstone. Not receiving our free e-newsletter? Subscribe now here.

Can I volunteer to work on projects in Yellowstone?
Occasionally a project we fund requires the help of volunteers. For example, the Fly Fishing Volunteers Program seeks help from anglers each summer, but all volunteers are enlisted and coordinated by National Park Service staff. To learn more about volunteer opportunities in national parks, visit the Volunteers in Parks page. To find out more about how to apply for volunteer opportunities in Yellowstone National Park, email Yellowstone's Volunteer Office at yell_volunteer_office@nps.gov or call 307-344-2729.

How can I make a donation to the Yellowstone Park Foundation?
There are many ways to make a donation, including donating online with a credit card, spreading out your donation by setting up an automatic monthly gift, or mailing a personal check to the Yellowstone Park Foundation at 222 East Main St., #301, Bozeman, MT 59715. Learn more about donating>>.

How are you affiliated with Yellowstone National Park? Can I give directly to Yellowstone? 
The Yellowstone Park Foundation is the official fundraising partner of Yellowstone National Park, as set forth by a Memorandum of Agreement that allows us to solicit donations on the Park's behalf. Yellowstone National Park, as part of a federal agency, is not able to accept donations from individuals or non-affiliated organizations. Contributing to the Yellowstone Park Foundation is the most direct and effective way you can participate in the stewardship of Yellowstone.

What benefits will I receive as a donor to the Yellowstone Park Foundation?
We strive to keep you connected with the work of the Foundation, and informed about the impact of your donation, with periodic updates from Yellowstone. As a donor, you will automatically receive our semiannual newsletter in the mail. In addition, you can choose to receive our monthly e-newsletter. Most importantly, you will receive the satisfaction of knowing that you are playing a direct role in the ongoing preservation of the world's first national park!

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