Society

Meet Yellowstone's Winter Caretaker

| by Amanda Andrade-Rhoades

Yellowstone National Park attracts about 3 million tourists every summer, but one man is responsible for taking care of the park through the winter months.

“This job has never been by the calendar or by the clock,” Steve Fuller told CBS. “You work with the winter. You work with Mother Nature.”

Fuller has been serving as Yellowstone’s winter caretaker since 1973. He stays in a 100-year-old cabin from November until whenever a snow plow reaches his lodge. In the summer, he travels to Africa; he spends every April on a safari.

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CBS reported that Fuller, who is in his 70s, doesn’t keep a TV in the cabin; he reads, listens to Wyoming Public Radio, and photographs Yellowstone to keep himself entertained when he’s not working.

"I've seen many wonderful things here,” he said. “Occasionally get a picture of them. But a lot of the great pictures are in my head, you know, that you couldn't quite pull it off with a camera.”

There’s plenty of labor to keep Fuller occupied. In November, he works with a crew to board up Yellowstone’s buildings. Over the course of the winter, Fuller stops snow from accumulating on the buildings’ roofs by using a saw to cut the snow into blocks and then sliding them off the roof. Over 150 inches of snow falls in Yellowstone annually, and Fuller is the only year-round employee.

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Things have changed since he took the position 42 years ago. His pay was just $13.24 a day when he started working at Yellowstone, and he took his wife and two daughters to the cabin in the winter months. He has since divorced and believes his solitary way of life is coming to an end; it’s now easier than ever to access Yellowstone during the winter.

Fuller has considered retirement, but he isn’t ready yet. “I think of it,” he said. "They say a lot of people die when they retire, you know?"

Sources: CBS, Daily Mail / Image via CBS