Yellowstone National Park Expedites Plan to Reopen 80 Percent of the Park with $50 Million in Emergency Funding

by Jon D. B.

In addition to reopening the southern loop on June 22, Yellowstone National Park expects to reopen the northern loop “in two weeks or less.”

On Sunday, June 19, National Park Service Director Chuck Sams met with Yellowstone National Park Superintendent Cam Sholly to announce $50 million in NPS emergency funding. The goal? To kick-start recovery efforts from Yellowstone’s historic, record-breaking floods.

Currently, the park’s southern loop is reopening on June 22. And with this funding, Yellowstone’s northern loop is also “expected to reopen in two weeks or less following completion of clean-up, repairs and final inspection of the northern loop infrastructure,” the park cites Monday.

Restoration of 80% of Yellowstone National Park Will Reopen Access To:

  • Dunraven Pass
  • Tower
  • Mammoth Hot Springs
  • Norris

Park officials hope to restore visitor access to the areas above asap. With the southern loop’s opening on June 22, this will restore 80 percent of Yellowstone to public use. Park staff will keep the public up to date on developments over the coming weeks. And we’ll have them all for you right here on Outsider.

Additional Details on NPS’ $50 Million Emergency Funding

In addition, this $50 million will restore temporary access to Gardiner and Cooke City, Montana. Additional gateway sites will benefit from the NPS funding, as well, with the goal being total restoration of the greater Yellowstone area. The following projects are already underway:

  • Improving the Old Gardiner Road for temporary access between Yellowstone and Gardiner, Montana
  • Repairing 22 miles of the Grand Loop Road between Old Faithful and West Thumb Geyser Basin
  • Old Gardiner Road project/restoration
  • Yellowstone National Park is also working to restore visitor access to the historic North Entrance

“The NPS currently anticipates the Old Gardiner Road will be substantially improved over the upcoming months,” Yellowstone continues. This is imperative, as essential emergency services, food, supplies and other administrative needs will be necessary throughout the harsh winter months.

Currently, the Northeast Entrance Road is impassible between Lamar Valley and Silver Gate. Costs, funding and timelines, however, are not yet available for these short or long-term repairs to the Northeast Entrance Road.

Temporary and permanent options to restore access to Silver Gate and Cooke City at the park’s northeast entrance are also in the works.

Get Ready to Return to Yellowstone National Park’s Southern Loop June 22

And don’t forget, Yellowstone will restore access to the southern loop of the park at 8 a.m. Wednesday, June 22. But park entrance will be different, so be sure to read up below and in our previous coverage here.

The park will be accessible via the following entrances:

  • East (Cody)
  • West (West Yellowstone)
  • South (Grand Teton/Jackson)

Accessible areas include:

  • Madison
  • Old Faithful
  • Grant Village
  • Lake Village
  • Canyon Village
  • Norris

Visitors will be welcomed via an interim visitor access plan based on license plate numbers. This will help Yellowstone National Park balance the demand for visitor access and park resource protection. The return of visitors to the park will also greatly benefit gateway communities, so head out if you can!

To learn more about the alternate license plate entry system, visit Yellowstone’s flood recovery webpage here.

You can also prepare for your Yellowstone trip by visiting Outsider’s Yellowstone guides.