By Ruffin Prevost
CODY, WYO. — State and federal road crews plowing snow in Yellowstone National Park met Wednesday along the East Entrance Road, completing a job that was funded with help from Wyoming businesses and residents.
Snow plows from the Wyoming Department of Transportation pushing into the park from the East Entrance met up before noon with National Park Service plows moving east from Fishing Bridge, according to WYDOT spokesman Cody Beers.
Beers said the two teams met about 15 miles inside the park from the East Gate.
The effort was wrapped up on time and under budget, despite recent spring snowstorms that closed highways in other parts of the state.
Another WYDOT crew is working to clear snow from the South Entrance Road from Jackson.
Yellowstone managers had announced in March that the park’s spring opening would be delayed by 1-2 weeks across various gates as snow plowing would be scaled back to save money under budget cuts resulting from the Congressional sequester.
But local businesses and other private donors in Cody and Jackson raised funds to cover the cost of WYDOT personnel and equipment used to supplement plowing efforts from outside the parks, ensuring the entrances would open on time.
“When we thought the federal sequestration was going to shut the public out of Yellowstone and slow down tourism in our gateway communities Wyoming came together and solved the problem,” Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead said in a statement released Wednesday.
“The two crews have had great support in Park and Teton Counties. I thank them and everyone in Cody and Jackson who have rallied to make it possible for Wyoming to welcome the world to America’s first national park again this spring,” Mead said.
Mead also thanked Yellowstone officials for working with Wyoming and the gateway communities to accomplish this task.
The Cody Country Chamber of Commerce helped fund the East Gate plowing effort, along with the City of Cody, Park County and private donors.
The park’s East Gate is expected to open on schedule, May 3, while the South Gate is expected to open May 10.
Contact Ruffin Prevost at 307-213-9818 or [email protected].