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 →

Northern parts of flood-ravaged Yellowstone likely closed for summer

 
CODY, Wyo — Emergency crews in Yellowstone National Park and surrounding communities scrambled on Tuesday to reopen roads and restore utility service in isolated areas cut off by historic floods that forced the first summertime disaster closure of the park in more than three decades. Yellowstone Superintendent Cam Sholly said in a press conference Tuesday that it is unlikely that the road from Gardiner, Mont. into the park and on to Cooke City, Mont. will reopen this year. That would put popular attractions like Mammoth Hot Springs and the unparalleled wildlife range of the Lamar Valley off limits. Continue Reading →

Yellowstone closed to entry following extensive flooding

 

A footbridge crossing Rescue Creek in Yellowstone National Park was washed out by recent flooding. All entrances to the park are closed until further notice. 

All entrances to Yellowstone National Park were closed Monday morning as the park and surrounding region experience extensive flooding. Record high waters along the Yellowstone and Gallatin river drainages have caused slides, washouts, bridge failures and other problems. Some roads may remain closed for an extended period as crews assess and repair damaged infrastructure. No inbound visitor traffic will be allowed into the park until conditions stabilize and the park can assess damage to roads and bridges and other facilities, park officials said in a statement released by the park’s public affairs office. This includes visitors with lodging and camping reservations. Continue Reading →

Cody/Yellowstone ‘Gram Slam’ Offers Bounty for Beauty

Shutterbugs across Park County, Wyoming have a chance to cash in on their most beautiful shots and clips as part of a Park County Travel Council initiative seeking outdoor recreation images to help bring visitors to the area. 
The Park County Gram Slam—seeking your best Instagram-worthy images—runs now through Oct. 29. It is an open call for submissions from area amateur and professional photographers and videographers. Travel Council members will pick their favorites and pay a “Park County Bounty” of $250-$500 for work that highlights outdoor recreation or lesser-known “hidden gem” destinations throughout the county. “We have tons of great photos and videos highlighting the major front-facing attractions throughout Park County,” said Travel Council Executive Director Ryan Hauck. 
“Now, as we are working to also make potential visitors more aware of our great outdoor recreation and backcountry opportunities, we’re looking to build a library of work we can use to showcase the best natural beauty our area has to offer,” Hauck said. Continue Reading →

Yellowstone logs first million-visitor month in July, Park Service requires masks

 
CODY, WYO. — Yellowstone National Park logged its first million-visitor month in July, a milestone symbolic of the heavy tourist traffic across the country’s national parks, as visitors travel to wide-open spaces in response to—and in spite of—the surging delta variant of COVID-19. The National Park Service has yet to release final numbers, by Superintendent Cam Sholly told reporters last week that the park hosted approximately 1,080,000 recreational visitors in July, Yellowstone’s busiest month ever. Neighboring Grand Teton National Park also saw a record month in July, hosting an estimated 828,777 recreational visitors. Record numbers of tourists are seeking to escape to the outdoors, as COVID outbreaks are surging in hotspots around the country. Continue Reading →

National Park Service implements mask requirement in all parks

The National Park Service announced Tuesday a nationwide mandate that all visitors, employees and contractors wear a mask inside all NPS buildings, and in crowded outdoor spaces, regardless of vaccination status or community transmission levels. “Visitors to national parks are coming from locations across the country, if not across the world. Because of this, and recognizing that the majority of the United States is currently in substantial or high transmission categories, we are implementing a service-wide mask requirement to ensure our staff and visitors’ safety,” said NPS Deputy Director Shawn Benge. The requirement will be in effect until further notice, and applies to all NPS buildings and public transportation systems. It also applies to outdoors spaces where physical distancing cannot be maintained, such as narrow or busy trails and overlooks. “Being vaccinated is the most effective way to protect yourself and your loved ones from the dangers of the coronavirus. Masking in addition to being vaccinated will help prevent the spread of new variants and protect those who are more at risk of severe disease. This simple act of kindness allows us to be safe while we continue to enjoy the benefits of our national parks,” said Capt. Maria Said, MD, an epidemiologist in the NPS Office of Public Health and a member of the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps. Continue Reading →

Yellowstone restricts fires, cites ‘very high’ danger

The parkwide fire danger level for Yellowstone National Park is considered “very high” and park managers have put Stage 1 fire fire restrictions are into effect, according to a statement released by the park’s public affairs office. Fire restrictions include:

Backcountry and trails

Prohibited: Charcoal or wood fire campfires in the backcountry, including those in established fire rings. Prohibited: Smoking in the backcountry and on all trails, except immediately adjacent to the provided fire ring in designated campsites or within a 3-foot-diameter area barren of all flammable material (e.g. standing in water, on a boat). Permitted: Portable gas stoves and lanterns in areas that are barren or cleared of all overhead and surrounding flammable materials within 3 feet. Frontcountry and developed areas

Permitted: Smoking only in:

an enclosed vehicle
a single-family dwelling
a developed campground
a day-use picnic area
within a 3-foot-diameter area that is barren or cleared of all flammable material

Permitted: Campfires in designated fire rings in frontcountry developed campgrounds (Madison, Mammoth, Slough Creek, Canyon, Indian Creek, Pebble Creek, Lewis Lake, Grant Village and Bridge Bay) and day-use picnic areas. Continue Reading →

Cody Library hosts July 6 discussion on “Let’s Talk About Hard Things”

 
CODY, WYO. — Anna Sale is on a mission, and she has enlisted a few of her Wyoming friends to help get the job done. Host of the “Death, Sex and Money” podcast, Sale has written a book aimed at helping people have difficult conversations about topics many of us would rather avoid, but know we ought to address. Released in May by Simon & Schuster, “Let’s Talk About Hard Things” builds on Sale’s popular WNYC podcast, deftly weaving together a diverse range of stories about people having tough talks along five categories: death, sex, money, family and identity. Sale discusses her book at the Cody Library on Tuesday, July 6. Continue Reading →