Push grows to ‘plow the plug’ in public road access dispute

CODY, Wyo. — Living in a remote mountain community can come with unique challenges. But that’s something Joelle Passerello knew in 2019 when she moved to Cooke City, Mont., a tourist town literally at the end of the road. Passerello, a single mother of two, manages a gas station in the isolated mountain town located just outside the Northeast Entrance to Yellowstone National Park. In the winter, the only way in or out of town is a 55-mile trek through the park’s northern range to Gardiner, Mont. Continue Reading →

The Unique Mystique of South Fork Ice

 
CODY, Wyo. — Dozens of adventurers gathered here over the weekend to strap sharp metal blades to their feet and grip long, pointed axes in each hand before venturing into the Shoshone National Forest in pursuit of their dangerous and elusive prey: frozen waterfalls. Ice climbers from across the country attended the inaugural Wyoming Ice Festival, a four-day event offering clinics, gear demonstrations, a film screening and social gatherings for enthusiasts eager to climb some of the most challenging ice in the country. Less than an hour’s drive southwest of Cody, ice climbers converge each winter in the South Fork Valley to scale literal frozen waterfalls. Some are freestanding columns of ice—gargantuan icicles the size of grain silos—unconnected to anything but the ground below and a cliff edge above. Continue Reading →

Winter season set to begin in Yellowstone Park

Snow coaches are parked near the Old Faithful Visitor Center in Yellowstone National Park.

 

 

The winter tourist travel season in Yellowstone National Park begins Thursday, Dec. 15. Conditions permitting, most park roads will open to oversnow travel by snowmobile and snowcoach, according to a statement from the park’s public affairs office. Annually from mid-December until mid-March, visitors travel most of the park’s roads by commercially guided snowmobiles and snowcoaches and via the non-commercially guided snowmobile access program. Top Things to Know in Winter

Most Park Roads are Closed to Automobiles

The only exception is the road between the North and Northeast entrances, which is open to automobiles all year, conditions permitting. Continue Reading →

Washed-out Yellowstone roads may reopen by mid-October

CODY, WYO. — The north and northeast entrances to Yellowstone National Park could reopen to general visitor traffic as soon as mid-October if repair work runs according to schedule. 
Yellowstone Superintendent Cam Sholly shared that ambitious construction timeline Monday afternoon on a community conference call with residents and business owners in the Cooke City, Mont. area. Sholly also reassured residents of the isolated alpine communities around Cooke City that they would be able to drive to either Gardiner, Mont. or Cody, Wyo. Continue Reading →

Group seeks cooperation for winter access through Cooke City

 

CODY, WYO. — Montana business owners and residents in Gardiner, Cooke City and Red Lodge joined with Wyoming colleagues in Cody on Monday to discuss how to ensure winter access to each other’s communities and to Yellowstone National Park after record rains last month washed out bridges and roads throughout the region. Floods left the park’s north and northeast entrances closed to tourist traffic. Citing June’s catastrophic floods and the the possibility of being cut off from automobile access to food, medical care and essential supplies this winter, members of the newly formed Park Access Recommendation Committee (PARC) said they plan to meet sometime in August with public officials in Montana and Wyoming to develop a plan to plow an 8-mile section of U.S. Highway 212 traditionally left unplowed for use by recreational snowmobilers. PARC members said during their online meeting that if repairs to heavily damaged sections of the Northeast Entrance Road between Cooke City and Gardiner are not completed by winter, U.S. Highway 212 would be the only option for residents to connect by auto to the outside world. Continue Reading →

Yellowstone visitation drops in June after floods, closure

MAMMOTH HOT SPRINGS, WYO. – Yellowstone National Park hosted 536,601 recreation visits in June 2022. This is a 43% decrease from June 2021 (938,845 recreation visits), which was the most-visited June on record, according to a statement released by the park’s public affairs office. On June 13, all entrances to Yellowstone National Park closed due to historic flooding. All park visitors were evacuated over the next 24 hours. Continue Reading →

Yellowstone reopens North Loop to all traffic July 2

 
CODY, WYO. — A bit more than two weeks after closing in the face of record flooding that washed out roads to two Montana gateway communities, Yellowstone National Park is reopening almost all its major roads to all visitors for the weekend. 
Park officials announced Thursday that Yellowstone’s North Loop will reopen and an even/odd license plate entry system meant to control traffic will be suspended. Those changes take effect July 2, according to a statement released by the park’s public affairs office. 
“We’re pleased to reopen the North Loop of Yellowstone to the visiting public less than three weeks after this major flood event,” said Superintendent Cam Sholly. “We have attempted to balance major recovery efforts while reopening as much of the park as possible,” he said. “We have greatly appreciated the tremendous support of the Department of the Interior; National Park Service; Federal Highway Administration; and our congressional, community, county and state partners.”
The North Entrance from Gardiner, Montana and Northeast Entrance from Cooke City, Montana remain closed. Continue Reading →

Much of Yellowstone to reopen Wednesday

Candice Phipps, a worker at the East Gate to Yellowstone National Park, checks passes of visitors arriving from Cody in this 2012 file photo.

 
MAMMOTH HOT SPRINGS, WYO. — With most of Yellowstone National Park undamaged by record flooding earlier this month, officials plan to reopen some roads on Wednesday, using a 1970s-era gas rationing system to limit the number of vehicles in the park. As much as 80 percent of the park is likely to be open to vehicle access within a month. At 8 a.m. Wednesday, June 22, Yellowstone will begin allowing visitors to access the south loop of the park, including Madison, Old Faithful, Grant Village, Lake Village, Canyon Village and Norris. Visitors will be able to enter from the East (Cody, Wyo.); West (West Yellowstone, Mont.); and South (Grand Teton National Park). The move is welcomed by gateway towns that had just begun a summer tourist season that was seen as a chance to gain back ground lost to two years of COVID-19 travel restriction. Continue Reading →

Yellowstone steps up repair, reopening plans

old-gardiner-road-mammoth-view

After initially warning that much of Yellowstone National Park would be closed for the season, officials are now optimistic that as much as 80 percent of the park will be open to vehicles within a month. During a visit to Yellowstone National Park and Gardiner, Montana, on Sunday, National Park Service Director Chuck Sams with Yellowstone National Park Superintendent Cam Sholly announced $50 million in federal spending to kick-start recovery efforts from record floods. The initial $50 million will be used to restore temporary access to Gardiner and Cooke City, Montana and other additional sites, according to a statement released by the park’s public affairs office. Plans are being finalized for improving the Old Gardiner Road for temporary access between Yellowstone and Gardiner, Montana. 
In partnership with the Federal Highway Administration, road construction crews and materials that were already in the park for a previously scheduled road project to repair 22 miles of the Grand Loop Road between Old Faithful and West Thumb Geyser Basin will be diverted to the Old Gardiner Road project. The Park Service anticipates the Old Gardiner Road will be substantially improved over the upcoming months, ensuring that essential emergency services, food, supplies and other administrative needs will be available throughout the winter months. Continue Reading →

Yellowstone to reopen after floods

Yellowstone National Park is likely to reopen the week of June 20, with visitors able to access the southern loop road entering from West Yellowstone, Mont., Jackson, Wyo. and Cody, Wyo. Park managers continue to assess damage following record flooding earlier this month. The National Park Service is analyzing the carrying capacity of the south loop and working with partners to develop appropriate visitor management actions to safely accommodate visitors within that portion of the park, the park’s public affairs office said in a statement. Park officials stressed that many popular attractions will be accessible, including Old Faithful Geyser, Grand Prismatic Springs, Yellowstone Falls, Yellowstone Lake and numerous thermal features, along with abundant wildlife. Continue Reading →