The budget crisis, partially enacted last night, keeps the government running through the end of September. The danger was that there would be a government shutdown today if a budget deal was not reached, a shutdown that would have among other things shut down Yellowstone National Park and other National Parks indefinitely. Congress still needs to approve the deal reached by leaders.
That means prepping for the Apriil 15 opener can continue. There’s still a lot of snow in Yellowstone, with more falling in recent days, and the challenge will be to clear off enough snow to make the roads passable. (To get a sense of how much snow is still left in Yellowstone, check out the Old Faithful Webcam.) Right now the plan is to open the roads between West Yellowstone and Mammoth Hot Springs and Old Faithful on April 15, though there will be a minimum of services open. The new Old Faithful Visitor Center will be open, and if you’re not been it’s definitely worth a visit. In terms of food, you can grab a bite at the Geyser Grill Fast Food or grab some goodies at the Mammoth General store, but that’s about it. (Check here for a list of Summer 2011 Opening and Closing Dates.)
Eventually all of Yellowstone will be plowed; it will take weeks to plow between Fishing Bridge to the East Gate, a 27-mile trek that includes the difficult Sylvan Pass, a task that should be done by May 6. Other nasty stretches include the Craig Pass, the Lewis Canyon and, of course, the Dunraven Pass. The Park Service also works on the opening of the Beartooth Highway.
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