First Peoples Mountain (center) rises between Top Notch Peak (foreground) and Mt. Stevenson (back right) seen from Avalanche Peak (Photo by Jacob Frank, courtesy of Yellowstone National Park and the Park Service via Flickr).
The northern loop of Yellowstone is expected to reopen within the next two weeks after it was closed last week from historic flooding that caused evacuations of the park and surrounding communities.
National Park Service Director Chuck Sams with Yellowstone National Park Superintendent Cam Sholly announced the reopening plans, in a press release on Monday. At the same time the park announced it has secured $50 million to kick-start recovery efforts from the record breaking floods.
The reoponeing of the northern loops means visitors will be able to access Dunraven Pass, Tower, Mammoth Hot Springs and Norris — opening visitor access to approximately 80 percent of Yellowstone National Park, according to the release.
As for the $50 million, it will be used to restore temporary access to Gardiner and Cooke City, Montana and other additional sites. And plans are being finalized for improving the Old Gardiner Road for temporary access between Yellowstone and Gardiner.
“The NPS currently anticipates the Old Gardiner Road will be substantially improved over the upcoming months, ensuring that essential emergency services, food, supplies and other administrative needs will be available throughout the winter months,” the release read. “As work proceeds through the summer, the NPS will look for opportunities to restore limited visitor access at the park’s North Entrance.”
In addition to plans to reopen Yellowstone’s northern loop much sooner than initially anticipated, the NPS said it is working with the Federal Highway Administration on a range of temporary and permanent options to restore access to Silver Gate and Cooke City at the park’s northeast entrance.
Currently, the Northeast Entrance Road is impassible between Lamar Valley and Silver Gate. Cost, funding and timelines are not yet available for these short or long-term repairs to the Northeast Entrance Road but will be released as soon as possible, the release read.
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