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Floods cut Yellowstone visitation for 2022 by one-third

MAMMOTH HOT SPRINGS, WYO. – Record floods that closed two of the five entrances to Yellowstone National Park cut annual visitation in 2002 by nearly one-third to the prior year, according to figures released Tuesday by the National Park Service. 

The park hosted 3,290,242 recreation visits in 2022, down 32% from 2021, which was the busiest year on record.  
Historic floods in June 2022 closed public access to Yellowstone National Park. On June 13, all park entrances closed, and visitors were moved out of the park during the following 24 hours. On June 22, the East, South and West entrances opened on a limited entry basis. Continue Reading →

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Wyoming’s Confectionary Perfection

Tim Kellogg, who formerly competed in rodeos as a saddle bronc rider and known professionally as the Meeteetse Chocolatier, started selling chocolates in 2004 to pay for a new saddle. (Courtesy photo from Tim Kellogg)

Meeteetse Chocolatier thrills in creating new flavor combinations

CODY, Wyo. — A cowboy astride a bucking horse has been an iconic representation of Wyoming for more than a century—at least since 1921, when that silhouette first graced  uniforms for baseball players at the University of Wyoming. And chocolate has been connected to Valentine’s Day since 1861, when Richard Cadbury sold heart-shaped boxes of chocolate candies adorned with roses and Cupids. Tim Kellogg’s retail display case offers a range of chocolate truffles and other hand-crafted confections. Continue Reading →

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Taste of the Trails brings ‘pure joy’

 
WAPITI, Wyo. — A five-kilometer race, run or walk is a staple fundraiser for community nonprofit groups across the country. It’s relatively simple to organize, and draws a wide range of participants—some are zealous competitors, others show up mainly to support a beloved cause. But the most exotic and popular 5K fundraiser in Cody doesn’t have any running, and it isn’t a race. Instead, it features stops at several points along the course to sample treats like artichoke dip or tomato basil soup. Continue Reading →

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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 →

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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 →

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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 →

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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 →

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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 →

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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 →

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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 →

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