TOP STORIES Yellowstone National Park to partially reopen Wednesday after historic...

Yellowstone National Park to partially reopen Wednesday after historic floods


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The northern entrance to Yellowstone was washed away by flooding.

National Park Service via Getty

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National Park Service via Getty

The northern entrance to Yellowstone was washed away by flooding.

National Park Service via Getty

Yellowstone National Park will partially reopen this week, days after a series of historic floods that damaged roads, buildings and infrastructure across the park.

In an update posted on Saturday, park officials wrote that visitors would be allowed through the park’s three southernmost entrances starting at 8 a.m. Wednesday. Entry will be restricted by a license plate system.

“Thanks to the tremendous efforts of our teams and partners, we are ready to reopen Yellowstone South Loop. It is not possible to open just one loop in the summer without putting in place some system to manage visits,” said Cam Scholley, park manager, in a press release.

Officials said the park will limit the number of visitors with a system of rotating license plates. If the final license plate on a vehicle is odd, that vehicle may enter on odd days of the month. On even days of the month, even numbers, including zeros, can enter. (Custom plates with all letters will be considered odd for entry.
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) Commercial vehicles and people with reservations will be allowed.

According to them, park staff will refuse vehicles that do not meet the requirements.

The license plate system is intended “to ensure that the south loop is not overwhelmed by visitors, and to balance the protection of the park’s resources and the economic interests of the surrounding communities,” the officials wrote.

“We have made tremendous progress in a very short amount of time, but we still have a long way to go,” Scholley said.

The main route through Yellowstone is shaped like a figure-eight. The most severe damage has affected the northern loop, which includes the Lamar Valley and Mammoth Hot Springs.

Roads on the northern ring were washed out in several places. Others were blocked by landslides and fallen trees. The entry town of Gardiner, Montana, located just outside the park’s northernmost entrance, was cut off from traffic for 24 hours, and drinking water infrastructure in the area is still damaged.

“We expect this part of the park to likely remain closed for a significant period of time,” officials wrote in an update posted on the park’s website.

The South Loop, due to open on Wednesday, includes some of the park’s most recognizable features, such as the Grand Prismatic Spring, Old Faithful, and the historic Old Faithful Inn.

Summer is the busiest season in Yellowstone. In July 2021, over a million people visited Yellowstone. the park’s busiest month on record.

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