Whenever Yellowstone National Park does reopen roads and entrances, visitors will only get to see about half of the park, thanks to Mother Nature.
Park Superintendent Cam Sholly says aerial assessments conducted on Monday show major damage to multiple sections of road between Gardiner, Montana and Mammoth Hot Springs, as well as the Northeast Entrance Road between Lamar Valley and Cooke City, Montana.
As a result, it is unlikely that the north and northeast entrances to the park, as well as the entire northern loop of the park will open anytime soon.
Some sections of highway that were washed out might not be rebuilt where it was, because some waterways have changed course.
A number of wastewater treatment facilities in the northern portion of the park have failed.
The park has extended its minimal closure time, and the earliest it may open the South loop won’t be until Monday, June 20th.
Superintendent Sholly adds the Park may not be out of the woods yet, because an approaching weather system could make things worse.
“There’s some conflicting predictions about this weekend and whether or not we may have another high water event coming. We still have somewhere around 12 inches of snowpack left and if we get warming temperatures and the right mixture of precipitation like we did Sunday, we could have another flood event coming through Yellowstone in the upcoming 4 or 5 days.”
Sholly says he has spoken with the Governors of Wyoming and Montana, and both have said they will activate the National Guard if needed.
The highway north out of Gardiner has reopened so that tourists can leave and basic services and supplies can be provided to the town.
A Park County, Montana County Commissioner says Cooke City is still isolated and there is no way to provide basic services such as trash pickup or law enforcement.
This is not the first time that Yellowstone National Park has had to shut down.
No one was allowed to enter during the government shutdown in October 2013, and when the covid-19 pandemic started in May and June of 2020.
Click here to see aerial video from Yellowstone National Park.
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