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.
In addition to plans to reopen Yellowstone’s northern loop much sooner than initially anticipated, the Park Service is working with the Federal Highway Administration on a range of temporary and permanent options to restore access to Silver Gate and Cooke City at the park’s northeast entrance. Currently, the Northeast Entrance Road is impassible between Lamar Valley and Silver Gate. Cost, funding and timelines are not yet available for these short or long-term repairs to the Northeast Entrance Road but will be released as soon as possible.
The park’s southern loop will open Wednesday with access controlled by an even/odd license plate and date system. For details, check the flood recovery section of the park’s website.
Contact Yellowstone Gate at 307-213-9818 or firstname.lastname@example.org.