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Portions of Yellowstone may reopen next week as flood waters recede

Yellowstone Flooding Photo Gallery
Posted at 12:00 PM, Jun 17, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-17 13:02:16-04

While high water levels have receded following the massive flooding that devastated parts of Yellowstone National Park earlier this week, officials said Friday a portion of the park could reopen sometime next week.

"Yellowstone National Park continues efforts to recover from historic flooding," the park said in a press release. "Limited reopening highly possible next week on park’s south loop with certain visitor entrance modifications. Visitors traveling to park in coming weeks must stay informed about [the] current situation, changes in visitor entry requirements, and road and weather conditions."

Officials said that although all five park entrances are closed temporarily, they are targeting to possibly reopen the west, south, and east entrances "as early as next week."

News of some portions possibly reopening comes as water levels have decreased "substantially over the past 24 hours."

Since Monday, the National Park Service has assessed the flood damage to surrounding communities, counties, and states. The agencies are collaborating on reopening strategies, according to the release.

Park officials said all employees who lost housing during the flooding had been relocated to new housing areas, and all power has been restored to the park.

“We have made tremendous progress in a very short amount of time but have [a] long way to go,” said Superintendent Cam Sholly. “All emergency and life safety objectives within the park have been accomplished or stabilized within the first 96 hours of the flood event, without major injury or death."

Crews have cleared the mud and rockslides from Dunraven Pass and other areas in the north and south loops.

"We have an aggressive plan for recovery in the north and resumption of operations in the south. We appreciate the tremendous support from [the] National Park Service and Department of Interior leadership, in addition to our surrounding Congressional delegations, governors, counties, communities, and other partners. This first 96 hours has been critical to be able to focus on our life safety objectives and stabilizing emergency conditions while preparing plans for recovery.”

Federal highway teams are working on cost estimates and timelines to repair damaged roads in and near the park.

A new road is expected to be built between Mammoth and Gardiner in a different corridor from the previous road.