The First Family Plans to Visit Two Western National Parks Next Weekend

President Obama and his family on a trip to Accra, Ghana

President Obama and his family on a trip to Accra, Ghana, earlier this summer. Official White House photo by Pete Souza.

If you plan to be in either Grand Canyon or Yellowstone National Parks next weekend, you may want to count on a little extra traffic. The first family plans to join you.

A White House spokesman said President Barack Obama and his family will visit both parks during a weekend trip that will also include stops in Bozeman, Montana; Grand Junction, Colorado, and Phoenix.

The weekend trip is meant to "highlight" the national park system and "encourage all people…to go to and visit the national parks," White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said. The visits will coincide with the final "fee-free" weekend for parks this summer.

Park supporters hope a trip by the first family to two national parks next week will boost visibility of parks in general.

Details of the trip have not released, but according to the White House press office, the Yellowstone visit will occur on August 15; Grand Canyon is scheduled for August 16.

Such visits are always a mixed blessing for the staff and visitors at the parks involved. There's always the hope that a Presidential visit will raise the level of his appreciation--and therefore support--for the parks, and both employees and visitors who actually get to see the VIPs will remember the event.

The flip side is that the logistics and security arrangements that inevitably accompany any such visits will create a few interruptions in the usual routine. Visitors to both areas on the dates in question should plan to include some flexibility in their travel plans.


I will be in grand teton and yellowstone next week but I am leaving on the 15th THANK GOD seeing him would ruin it

Mr. President, I hope you and your family have a great visit. It would be nice if you could be accompanied by your nominee, Jon Jarvis, for the office of the NPS director.

Welcome Mr. President Obama: Enjoy the spectacular view of the Grand Canyon in it's entire glory from sunrise till sunset. It is truly god spell in all it's glory and color. Enjoy with peace and solitude!

It would be nice if President Obama could take some time while here to educate himself about the trajedy that has befallen our last truly wild and genetically pure bison herd. I wonder if the BFC has any plans to attempt to meet with him either in Bozeman or Yellowstone?

It sounds like this is a family vacation. I don't imagine his daughters would be all that happy if they finally have him to themselves, then someone tries to butt in to voice their agenda, whether for or against whatever. This is a strictly non partisan remark here, so don't jump on what I said as being political. This is from a grandmother's perspective on their mini-vacation.


BFC's operation is really small in the summer; I don't think they can arrange a meeting. I'm planning on going and at the very least handing out newsletters and information about what Obama could do when he's here. In any event, I'm going to BFC for a two day workshop this week, and I'm sure we'll come up with a plan of action then. Personally, I don't think Obama is reachable, but the woefully under-informed people here in the valley at least could use a reminder that the federal government plays a key role in this.

Obama's whirlwind visit to these parks won't possibly give them much insight into anything, especially the raw experience of the place. It is unfortunate that they won't be spending more time; however, maybe the magic will hit he and his family enough that they will itch to come back and then become better informed.

It's a little silly, though, to go to Yellowstone during a free weekend to encourage more visitation; Yellowstone has record visitation this summer - the July numbers showed an 11% increase! (not that people like us don't know how to beat the crowds - had a very quiet time in the Bechler region this week and into Idaho; too bad it was spoiled by the reminder of the politics by seeing cattle inside the national park boundary!)

Jim Macdonald
The Magic of Yellowstone
Yellowstone Newspaper
Jim's Eclectic World

They are also in those states because it takes 1 or 2 votes to pass that healthcare bill- The senators in these states need to vote against that bill.

What exactly is the trajedy (sic) that has befallen our last truly wild and genetically pure bison herd?

I wonder how much CO2 the president will be generating for this photo op. Air Force One don't run on fairy dust.


There are numerous articles on the yearly bison slaughter and hazing on this site (including one fairly recently); for a lot more information, you should check out .

Jim Macdonald
The Magic of Yellowstone
Yellowstone Newspaper
Jim's Eclectic World

I was planning on going to Yellowstone and the Tetons this week but just cancelled. Knowing "Bill" would be there would ruin it... I'll be arriving on the 15th instead.