The National Park Service is taking public comments on a plan to upgrade the Bechler Ranger Station, a remote outpost built more than a century ago to control poaching in Yellowstone National Park’s southwest corner.The agency has completed the environmental analysis on the project, which calls for expanding parking at the station and remodeling a series of buildings.
The Bechler Ranger Station is a popular launch point for hikers, horseback riders and anglers looking to explore the remote stretches of the park’s southwest corner. The station provides access to more than 100 miles of trails to prime trout fishing and the collection of waterfalls that have earned the area the nickname “Cascade Corner.”
The station, which is open from June through Nov. 1, usually draws between 5,000 and 6,500 visitors each year and issues an average of 480 backcountry permits each season.
The agency’s environmental study concluded the station deserves an upgrade for better health and safety of its seasonal staff and visitors. The preferred option in the study calls for removing deteriorating mobile housing and building new structures suitable for winter use and a visitor station.
The proposal also calls for reconfiguring the parking lot and expanding it from 10 to 20 spots, with some areas carved out for horse trailers.
The outpost was created in 1911 and served as a home base for U.S. Army soldiers who patrolled the area for poachers. A visitor station was added in 1946 and over the years other structures were added.