The University of Wyoming National Park Service Research Station, also known as the AMK Ranch, houses scientists conducting their research within the park.
Thanks to the wonderful people at the National Park Service, this beautiful cabin is my home base for the next three weeks.
Here, we’re off the grid a bit – there’s no cell service at the station and researchers and park staff members make up the total population of about a dozen people. Just up the road, there’s a 24-hour honor-system library with limited internet access. Other honor-system privileges include a kayak station, communal kitchens, and a general supply shed.
The experience at the research station contrasts Jackson Lake Lodge about ten minutes down the road, where vacationers take advantage of suburbanesque shops and high style amenities. If you’re looking for a spa-style vacation, Jackson Lake has you covered. But if you’re looking for a secluded space to work and a small community of scientists to hang out with on a quiet lake, then the research station is a great bet.
On that note, one of the best things about being here is interacting with other researchers studying within the park. Last year, I met graduate students from Wyoming, Idaho, and Montana, all of which were studying wildlife within the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. This year, I met Dr. Monica Turner, an ecologist from the University of Wisconsin, who studies large-scale wildfires and is known for her work in Yellowstone.
Given the research station’s central location to Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks, it makes sense that everyone congregates here to conduct field research, exchange ideas, and collaborate across fields. In fact, I think many partnerships have sparked over shared mosquito spray, market runs, and homegrown herbal tea.
In the next few days, we’ll tag along with staffers Jade and Coleman to observe their microfauna transect data collection near the station. For now, we’re taking it easy and stocking up for the week.