Yellowstone to open Montana entrances June 1

All roads through Yellowstone National Park will be open June 1, except for a segment from Tower to Canyon, which is under construciton.

Yellowstone National Park will open its Montana entrances on Monday, June 1 at 10 a.m. The Montana entrances include West Entrance (near West Yellowstone), North Entrance (near Gardiner), and Northeast Entrance (near Cooke City). The opening of Montana’s entrances coincides with Montana’s lifting of out-of-state travel restrictions, and will provide visitor access to all five entrances of Yellowstone National Park (the Wyoming entrances opened on May 18). The entire Grand Loop Road will be accessible for day use, the National Park Service said Thursday in a statement released by Yellowstone’s public affairs office, excluding the segment between Canyon and Tower, which is closed for road construction. On June 1, in line with the park’s three-phased reopening plan, visitors will be able to access Phase 1 services/facilities (including restrooms, self-service gas stations, trails/boardwalks, limited stores, entrance stations, medical clinics, approved tours) and a few services/facilities as outlined in Phase 2 (including takeout food service, boating, and fishing). The park will remain day-use only. Continue Reading →

Woman injured by bison in Yellowstone

A woman in Yellowstone National Park was injured by a bison Wednesday afternoon, but declined to be taken for additional medical care. Park officials did not release full details of the incident, but said the woman approached too close to the bison, within 25 yards, somewhere in the Upper Geyser Basin, which is home to Old Faithful. The incident remains under investigation, and is the first bison-related injury of the year. Yellowstone opened Monday for the season, offering only restrooms and self-service gasoline, with no overnight accommodations. Park emergency medical providers responded to the incident immediately, according to a statement released by the park’s public affairs office. Continue Reading →

Early visitors eager to make Yellowstone pilgrimage

OLD FAITHFUL, WYO. — Grand Prismatic Spring is a favorite attraction in Yellowstone National Park. The largest hot spring in the U.S., its rainbow colors are a natural wonder that draws such large summer crowds that the parking lot overflows onto the road, and tourists stand three rows deep along the boardwalk, straining for a glimpse. On Tuesday morning, Jeremiah and Ashley Meyer had Grand Prismatic Spring all to themselves. The Star Valley, Wyo. Continue Reading →

Yellowstone to open South, East gates May 18 in phased reopening

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CODY, WYO. — Yellowstone National Park is set to reopen at noon on Monday, May 18, but only through the south and east entrances located in Wyoming. The park’s other three entrances, all in Montana, will open later, at a date to be determined in cooperation with Montana officials. Early park visitors expecting to catch a glimpse of grizzly bears or Old Faithful Geyser should pack a lunch, as self-serve gas stations and public restrooms are the only services available during what the National Park Service is calling Phase 1 of what will be a phased reopening. Superintendent Cam Sholly said he wants to follow a slow and cautious approach Wednesday, speaking on a conference call with business leaders and elected officials in gateway communities that rely on park visitors for a large portion of their local economies. Continue Reading →

Yellowstone to see staged opening with limited services

The usual spring opening for Yellowstone National Park has been delayed to help slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus. (Ruffin Prevost/Yellowstone Gate)

CODY, WYO. — The first Friday in May has traditionally marked the opening of the East Gate to Yellowstone National Park, drawing a mix of locals and hearty travelers anxious to experience spring in a park still thawing out from a long winter. But with Yellowstone still closed to help slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus, tourism industry insiders are grappling with a plan for what summer might look like in the park and the gateway towns that rely on a steady stream of visitors to fill restaurants, hotels and attractions. Park manages still haven’t announced an opening date. But they have said that Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks will see staged openings that start small and rely on fewer seasonal employees, with reduced services and a focus on visitor and worker safety. Continue Reading →

Yellowstone lodging concessioner delays operations until June 15

CODY, WYO. — Yellowstone National Park’s primary lodging concessioner announced in an email to employees on Tuesday that it will not begin summer operations until June 15. Xanterra Travel Collection—which operates several hotels, campgrounds and tour activities in Yellowstone—told employees that the company is “waiting for directives from the National Park Service” as it revises its timeline for summer operations. Xanterra is the country’s largest park concessioner, operating in state parks and five national parks, in addition to Yellowstone. It relies heavily on seasonal employees who are housed in dormitories, cabins and other housing inside Yellowstone and other park properties. Continue Reading →

Yellowstone, Grand Teton seek local input on plan to reopen parks

By Ruffin Prevost
CODY, WYO. — Two of the country’s busiest national parks are expecting to reopen to visitors at some point this year, but details are still far from final on when that will happen, or how that process will unfold. On a conference call lasting nearly two hours Monday with Wyoming civic and business leaders in Cody and Jackson, Yellowstone National Park Superintendent Cam Sholly and Grand Teton National Park Acting Superintendent Gopaul Noojibail stressed a cautious approach to reopening their respective parks. They were joined on the call by Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon, and billed the discussion as a listening session, saying it would take time to develop a plan for reopening the parks. A similar call is planned this week for participants in Montana. Continue Reading →

Yellowstone, Cody summer road work on schedule despite virus concerns

CODY, WYO. — A range of road construction projects scheduled for this summer around Cody and Yellowstone National Park are currently expected to remain on schedule, with no reports yet of COVID-19 affecting workers, budgets or work progress. Work is scheduled to resume May 4 in Yellowstone on improvements to a 3.5-mile section of the East Entrance Road between Fishing Bridge and Indian Pond, said park spokeswoman Linda Veress. Work on the project is still expected to be completed substantially by late October, and the East Entrance Road will be fully accessible to visitor traffic for the duration of the 2020 summer season, Veress said. Visitors should expect delays of up to 30 minutes around Fishing Bridge, and some turnouts and trailheads may be inaccessible during construction. Continue Reading →

Yellowstone’s historic Mammoth Hotel reopens after $30 million renovation

Yellowstone National Park Superintendent Cam Sholly greets visitors during a celebration Aug 30 marking the reopening of the Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel folowing a $30-million renovation. (NPS photo/Jacob W. Frank)

 
MAMMOTH HOT SPRINGS, WYO. — A beloved, historic hotel in Yellowstone National Park has reopened following a $30 million renovation that included room upgrades and major work to overhaul its electrical systems and stabilize the structure in the seismically active park. While the Mammoth Hotel has already been reopened and hosting guests for several days in August, the National Park Service made it official Friday, with a ribbon-cutting, room tours and a morning celebrating the history of the hotel that serves as the hub of Mammoth Hot Springs, where the Park Service’s Yellowstone headquarters are located. “We’ve got some of the most important cultural resources in the world in this park, and this is one of them,” Superintendent Cam Sholly said of Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel during Friday’s festivities. The multi-year renovation and upgrade was in the planning stages for nearly 20 years, and preserved the building’s late 1930s art moderne style, as originally designed by architect Robert Reamer, who also designed the Old Faithful Inn and redesigned Lake Hotel. Continue Reading →

VP Pence visits Old Faithful in push for park maintenance funding

YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK — Relying on a spectacular display of mother nature to drive his point home, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence on Thursday called for additional funding for America’s national parks, saying they are “extraordinary treasures in the life of our nation.” Pence was joined in Yellowstone National Park by Interior Secretary David Bernhardt and Yellowstone Superintendent Cam Sholly. The Vice President spoke in front of a well-timed, routine eruption from the reliable Old Faithful Geyser to push for a Congressional appropriation to address deferred maintenance in America’s national parks. The Trump administration is backing a bipartisan bill that would set aside an estimated $6.8 billion over 10 years to be spent on a $16 billion maintenance backlog at Interior. Nearly $12 billion of that is needed by the National Park Service to repair campgrounds, roads, bridges, visitor centers, trails and other infrastructure. Continue Reading →