IITA advises that the northern and northeastern entrance roads are expected to close for the season
Unprecedented flooding in Yellowstone National Park has resulted in the closure of all entrances to the park due to washed out roads and bridges and severely damaged infrastructure. On a call yesterday with Yellowstone Superintendent Cam Sholly, leaders of the International Inbound Travel Association heard an update on the situation and expectations for the season.
According to former IITA President Gary Schluter, Superintendent Sholly reported that the North Entrance (Gardiner) and Northeast Entrance (Cooke City/Silvergate) roads are completely unusable and should be closed for the season. And, the five miles between Gardiner and Mammoth may have to be moved, which will cost a lot of time and money.
The previous high for the Yellowstone River was around 31,000 cfs (cubic feet per second). Last Sunday evening, it was flowing at over 51,000 cfs.
Park officials will further assess if/when they could open the upper loop including Tower and Mammoth (along with Canyon and Norris) based on the opening of the Dunraven Pass (Washburn) route as this is currently closed due to a landslide.
This road just opened a week ago after a $30 million road upgrade during the past summer season. Canyon to Roosevelt over Dunraven over to Mammoth down to Norris loop is not totally out of place for the summer and could possibly open in July. With lighter damage on the south/lower loop (including Canyon to Norris Road), it should open early next week.
Superintendent Sholly advised that more than likely a timed reservation system will be put in place to facilitate the traffic they anticipate on the Lower Loop route from the east (Cody), west (West Yellowstone) and south (Jackson) entrances ). The numbers will be based on parking spots around the entire loop (and once they can open the upper loop, they can increase the numbers based on parking along that route). It will take at least 3-4 weeks for the reservation system to be operational, so until then they will work without a system. However, if the park seems too crowded, they may cut the entrances to minimize extra access during certain parts of the day.
The east gate is not as busy as the south and west gates historically. So when the resolution system arrives, they will logically have to force more traffic to the East gate to reduce the pressure on the busier ones.
Quintin Blair, Member of the IITA Advisory Council, Blair Hotels, requested that the Superintendent take into account the impacts on international visitors when setting up the reservation system for individual vehicles. A percentage of reservations will be reserved in advance (and some depending on who has accommodation reservations inside the park), with a percentage held back for ‘day of entry’ visitors. Blair asked if the booking system would be suspended after the 2022 season, and the answer, although vague, was that it would depend on how well it worked this summer.
Commercial Tour AUC holders will be exempt from the res system now and in the future.
Food and gas services are expected to resume once park roads open, but overnight visitors may be limited to help allow reservations for visitors to Cody, Jackson and West Yellowstone.
Tour operators and visitors are urged to continue watching the Yellowstone website for updates.
Additionally, the Wyoming Office of Tourism works diligently to provide accurate and up-to-date information and has put together a summary of resources from their partners which will be updated as often as possible to ensure everyone is there. access. The website is: WOT Resources.