Yellowstone National Park Flooding Could Cause Economic Hardship in Surrounding Towns

by Amy Myers

As Montana officials continue to monitor the flood damage in and around Yellowstone National Park, their attention has turned to the surrounding towns that are now suffering the consequences of the raging waters.

So far, we’ve seen the flooding take down bridges, take chunks out of roadways and turn ridges into rockslides. And the damage has only been getting worse, especially for those who live and work around the national park.

“This is going to be a pretty big hit,” Bill Berg, a commissioner of Park County, Montana said.

A huge concern for the state is the fact that the weather event may leave a lasting impression on the state’s tourism revenue. Last year, Yellowstone saw almost 5 million visitors. This year promised a similar influx of adventurers looking to back in the park’s beauty. But with how much the rainfall has already destroyed, it’s not likely that the park will have any record-breaking visitation numbers.

Montana Residents Close Businesses Due to Unclean Water Supplies

One Montana resident that knows the extent of the floodwaters’ damage is Anna Holloway, 45. Holloway runs a bookstore and cafe in Gardiner just outside of the park’s north entrance. Holloway, like many business owners, had to close shop because there was a widespread lack of clean water.

“We already have a town of stranded people, the last thing you want is a town of stranded people with no coffee in the morning,” Holloway said, according to The New York Times.

Holloway’s statement points to the fact that the floods may have caused an early end to the state’s tourism season. Without this source of funds, the loss of these visitors is the salt in a still-bleeding wound.

She added that “without Yellowstone, there’s no reason for people to come to Gardiner.”

Still, there are some that retain a positive outlook for the future of Yellowstone National Park.

“People love Yellowstone, and no matter what happens, it’s not going anywhere,” Montana Governor Greg Gianforte said, according to Fox News. “It’s always going to that special place for so many.”

Montana Governor Gives Crucial Updates Regarding State of Towns Surrounding Yellowstone National Park

Throughout the process of the closures and damage assessments, Governor Gianforte has been vocal on Twitter, supplying the community with updates as officials work to manage the situation for both wild and domestic residents.

Yesterday, the governor declared a statewide disaster “to help impacted communities get back on their feet as soon as possible.”

Meanwhile, today, Montana Senator Jon Tester urged the White House “to swiftly approve the State’s request for a major disaster declaration, which would activate critical FEMA assistance and boost recovery efforts.”

So far, it’s unclear just how the state will proceed in the following days. However, Gianforte has assured that his team will “continue to bring the full resources of the state to bear in responding to and recovering from severe flooding.”