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Early crowds make for busy opening day at East Gate to Yellowstone Park

A Buddhist monk from Thailand takes photographs at Sylvan Lake on Friday in Yellowstone National Park.

For the past decade, at 8 a.m. on the first Friday in May, Yellowstone National Park ranger Dennis Lenzendorf has pulled aside a locked barricade to open the park's East Entrance to the season's first visitors. But this year was a little different. Normally, a few dozen cars—mainly full of locals anxious to re-enter the park on opening day—are queued up and waiting. But typically, after the first hour, traffic is sparse. This past Friday, more than 50 vehicles were still lined up at 10 a.m. waiting to enter. Continue Reading →

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Savvy regulars, eager locals cherish Yellowstone spring

Bison dot the landscape in the Lamar Valley as a lack of snow leaves much of Yellowstone National Park open for spring grazing.

For the faithful and fanatical few early visitors to Yellowstone National Park arriving from Cody last week, Friday seemed more like a breezy summer day than the first chance to enter the park by car after another long winter. But it appears there wasn't quite enough winter overall in the park this year, as snowpack was at just a fraction of its usual levels throughout the wide valleys and high mountains that are home to headwaters for much of the surrounding region. A mild and dry winter made for an easy time moving around the park, but could mean limited water for irrigation and the potential for a busy fire season in surrounding areas. Continue Reading →

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Tourism insiders expect strong summer as Yellowstone’s East Gate set to open Friday

With the East Gate to Yellowstone National Park scheduled to open Friday, tourism industry insiders are reporting strong advance bookings in anticipation of a solid summer travel season. Positive economic indicators like fall unemployment rates and the potential for low- and middle-income wage growth may be contributing to the optimistic travel outlook, along with gasoline prices that remain well below where they have typically been in recent years. Continue Reading →

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Early Yellowstone visitors delayed by Sylvan Pass avalanche control

A great blue heron searchers for food near Trout Creek in Yellowstone National Park.

Early visitors to Yellowstone National Park may sometimes wish they could stay a little longer. And some of the first people touring the park by auto this year got their wish Friday, as a closure of Sylvan Pass stopped traffic on the park's East Entrance road for a few hours. Park officials temporarily closed the 1.5-mile stretch of road between the East Gate and Fishing Bridge to allow for avalanche mitigation. Continue Reading →

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Protestors gather at East Gate to demand reopening of Yellowstone Park

Protestors gather at the East Gate to Yellowstone National Park on Sunday to demand a solution to the federal government shutdown that has closed national parks nationwide.

A grassroots protest Sunday afternoon at the East Entrance to Yellowstone National Park was a study in contrasts, as environmentally minded nature-lovers joined Constitution-quoting small government advocates in showing support for the park, and to demand a solution to the government shutdown that has dragged on for two weeks. Despite temperatures in the low 40s and sporadic drizzle, approximately 75 people gathered for a half-hour demonstration during which anyone was allowed to speak, and that concluded with a spontaneous singing of "God Bless America." Continue Reading →

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Yellowstone East Gate opens Friday despite budget cuts, late snow

Despite a series of budget cuts that delayed National Park Service snowplows and a round of spring snow that moved through the region early this week, the East Gate to Yellowstone National Park is set to open Friday. Wyoming communities in Cody and Jackson chipped in to cover the cost of snow removal along much of the park's south and east entrance roads, ensuring on-time openings for those gates. Continue Reading →

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Road crews finish clearing snow along East Entrance Road in Yellowstone Park

Workers look on as two rotary snowplows enter Yellowstone National Park on Monday to begin removing snow along the East Entrance Road. (Ruffin Prevost/Yellowstone Gate - click to enlarge)

State and federal road crews plowing snow in Yellowstone National Park met Wednesday along the East Entrance Road, completing a job that was funded with help from Wyoming businesses and residents. Snow plows from the Wyoming Department of Transportation pushing into the park from the East Entrance met up before noon with National Park Service plows moving east from Fishing Bridge, according to WYDOT spokesman Cody Beers. Continue Reading →

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Locally funded Wyoming crew begins plowing Yellowstone East Entrance Road

Several tons of heavy equipment rumbled to life at the East Gate of Yellowstone National Park on Monday, as workers began what is expected to be a month-long effort to remove snow on the road between the park's eastern boundary and Fishing Bridge. Road workers rarely begin their day to a round of applause like that heard on Monday, but they also typically aren't driving rigs sporting promotional banners and flags positioned in easy view of a group of waiting reporters and local officials. Continue Reading →

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