Yellowstone National Park will partially reopen at 8 a.m. Wednesday, with catastrophic flooding destroying bridges and roads and evacuating thousands of tourists.
The Park Service announced Saturday that visitors will once again be allowed on the south loop of the park under a temporary license plate system designed to manage crowds: those with even-numbered plates and motorcycle groups will be allowed on an even-numbered day and those with odd-numbered or Vanity plates on odd-numbered day.
Professional tours and visitors with proof of overnight reservation in hotels, campgrounds or backcountry will be allowed any number in their number plate.
The power of nature in the Yellowstone flood
Visitors were coming for Yellowstone’s 150th anniversary. The southern loop provides access to Old Faithful, the rainbow-colored Grand Prismatic Spring, and Yellowstone’s Grand Canyon and its magnificent waterfalls. It is accessed from the south, east and west entrances of the park.
Yellowstone Floods: Photographs of the surrounding communities assessing the economic impact show the damage
“It’s impossible to reopen just one loop in the summer without some sort of system for managing visits,” Yellowstone Superintendent Cam Sholay said in a statement. “Thanks to our gateway partners and others for helping us find acceptable temporary solutions for the Southern Loop as we continue our efforts to reopen the North Loop.”
Rare Yellowstone closes due to historic flooding
If the north turn is not long, it is expected to be closed in summer. Officials say it could take years to repair the damage to the environmentally sensitive landscape and cost more than 1 billion.
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