Yellowstone National Park, punished over four days by record rains and melting snow that caused floods and mudslides — eating away concrete roads and wrecking bridges — will remain closed for about a week and the most severely damaged northern section may stay closed for the rest of the season, officials said Tuesday (June 14), according to The New York Times.
The park’s southern loop will be reopened sooner, while entrances to the northern half of the park will likely remain closed until late October or early November, the superintendent of the park, Cam Sholly, said in a news conference.
Waters are still raging and the park has not had time to assess the damage or propose a timeline for repairs, Sholly added.
All visitors to the park have been evacuated, Sholly said, except for 12 campers in the backcountry who are safe. He said there were no injuries from the storm, though one person suffered cardiac arrest at a Yellowstone campground and died.
Millions of visitors each year are drawn to the wilderness and active geysers in Yellowstone, which is the oldest national park in the United States and sprawls across more than two million acres in the northwest corner of Wyoming and into Montana and Idaho. The park is particularly popular in the summer. In 2021, more than 4.8 million people visited.
Video recorded from a helicopter showed a swollen river coursing along a collapsed, eroded roadway at the park’s northern entrance.
Visitors were evacuated from the northern section of the park, where there were multiple mudslides and where roads and bridges had failed, Sholly said in a statement. Parts of Gardiner, a hamlet of about 800 people that serves as the main northern entrance to the park, had no power or water and were receiving aid from the authorities in Montana, he said.