Yellowstone National Park To Partially Reopen After Historic Flooding

by Amy Myers

Previously, Yellowstone National Park began closing its doors to visitors and evacuating current patrons as a result of the flooding. Now, emergency crews have made such impressive progress that park officials feel comfortable partially reopening the park not a week after the disaster.

Starting Wednesday at 8 a.m. local time, visitors will once again be able to access the southern loop. However, they’ll need to follow a temporary license plate system. This system allows park staff to control the crowds and avoid any further damage or safety risks.

The rules for the license plate system are as follows:

  • Those with even-numbered license plate numbers and motorcycle groups can enter the park on even days.
  • Those with odd-numbered license plate numbers, vanity plates and motorcycle groups can enter the park on odd days.

The southern loop of Yellowstone National Park tends to be one of the most popular regions for guests. Here, hikers can find the world-famous Old Faithful geyser. Also located within this section are the Grand Prismatic Spring and the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone and waterfall.

According to Yellowstone National Park Superintendent, Cam Sholly, the system was a necessary step for reopening the park.

“It is impossible to reopen only one loop in the summer without implementing some type of system to manage visitation,” Sholly said in a news release. “My thanks to our gateway partners and others for helping us work out an acceptable temporary solution for the south loop while we continue our efforts to reopen the north loop.”

Yellowstone National Park Superintendent Gives Status Update on Remainder of Park

Sholly stated while the upcoming opening is a win, there is still more work to be done. Per the park’s previous release, staff expects the northern loop to remain closed through the summer at the earliest. The reason this section requires more intensive work is because of the fragile ecosystem that thrives there.

“We have made tremendous progress in a very short amount of time but have a long way to go. We have an aggressive plan for recovery in the north and resumption of operations in the south,” Sholly stated.

Officials have stated that the sheer amount of torrential rainfall and flooding have been a historic occurrence, taking out roads, houses and buildings in its path.

Sholly continued, “We appreciate the tremendous support from National Park Service and Department of the Interior leadership, in addition to our surrounding Congressional delegations, governors, counties, communities, and other partners.”

Likewise, National Park Service Director Chuck Sams echoed Sholly’s sentiments. Sams also noted that recovery is a joint effort between multiple entities.

“We realize there is much challenging work ahead, and we will do everything we can to support the park, partners, concessioners, and gateway communities on the road to recovery.” – Chuck Sams, National Park Service Director