Another milestone day in Yellowstone National Park access: the Yellowstone East Entrance is open, while road crews have made significant progress in clearing the road between the South Entrance and Old Faithful.
As of today, the East, West and North Entrances to many popular park destinations, including Old Faithful, the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, Norris Geyser Basin and Fishing Bridge, is open. Budget cuts due to the impacts of sequestration prompted the park to take many administrative actions and make changes to park operations for this season. This included delaying the start of plowing, which pushed back the scheduled opening of roads by one to two weeks.
Meanwhile, the South Entrance is on schedule to open next week after National Park Service crews and Wyoming Department of Transportation (WYDOT) crews met just south of Grant Village. In this photo: Bob Johnston (left), foreman, and Kenny Whitman, National Park Service (NPS), greet. With the assistance of money raised by the community of Jackson, Wyoming, WYDOT crews achieved their plowing milestone of reaching 16 miles into the park from Flagg Ranch, meeting with NPS crews so that the park can open the park’s South Entrance on May 10 as originally scheduled. A similar effort by the residents of Cody, Wyoming, provided funding which allowed WYDOT crews to help clear another section of road into Yellowstone, allowing the park’s East Entrance to open to visitors today.
Opening the South Entrance will allow visitors to travel to Grant Village, West Thumb Junction and on to Fishing Bridge and across Craig Pass to Old Faithful. This entrance is set to open as originally scheduled on Friday, May 10, given favorable weather conditions. You can view a list of what’s open so far in Yellowstone National Park on this page.
(Photos courtesy of the National Park Service; East Entrance opening by Elizabeth Quall, plowing photo by Dan Hottle.)