More access in the works: Today National Park Service officials announced the three Yellowstone Montana gates are set to open June 1, coinciding with Gov. Steve Bullock’s lifting of out-of-state travel restrictions.
With the opening of the West Entrance (near West Yellowstone), North Entrance (near Gardiner) and Northeast Entrance (near Cooke City), all five Yellowstone gates will be open for the season. The two Wyoming entrances had previously opened on May 18.
With the opening of the three Yellowstone Montana gates, the entire Grand Loop Road will be accessible for day use, excluding the segment between Canyon and Tower, which is closed for road construction. Vvisitors will be able to access Phase 1 services/facilities (including restrooms, self-service gas stations, trails/boardwalks, limited stores, entrance stations, medical clinics, approved tours) and a few services/facilities as outlined in Phase 2 (including takeout food service, boating, and fishing). The park will remain day-use only. Limited overnight accommodations will begin reopening later in June. Campgrounds, visitor centers, and other facilities are still closed until health conditions allow for reopening. You can view what’s open and closed on our Opening and Closing Dates page.
“I appreciate the partnership with Governor Bullock, his team, and our surrounding counties and communities,” said Superintendent Cam Sholly. “We will continue working closely together as we progress through this reopening sequence.”
It’s important to note that NPS officials are implementing coronavirus pandemic mitigation efforts, including: providing additional protective barriers where needed, encouraging the use of masks or facial coverings in high-density areas, metering visitor access in certain locations, increasing cleaning frequency of facilities, adding signage on boardwalks and other public spaces, and messaging to visitors through a variety of methods. Substantial investments have been made in mitigation measures by the park’s business partners including Xanterra, Delaware North, Yellowstone Park Service Stations, Medcor, and Yellowstone Forever. To date, the park has also approved 126 commercial use authorizations (CUAs) for local businesses to operate inside the park after reviewing individual COVID-19 mitigation plans submitted by each company.
Visitors should come prepared and follow all CDC and local health guidance by practicing good hygiene and social distancing. Face coverings are recommended where social distancing is not possible. People who are sick should stay home and not visit the park.
In addition, Yellowstone is partnering with surrounding states, counties, and businesses (like Medcor, the company that runs the in-park clinics) to increase testing capacity. In addition to building capacity to test people with COVID-19 symptoms, the park has agreed to participate in a COVID-19 surveillance testing pilot project. Park County, Montana health officials have begun testing frontline employees and partners with 50 tests this week (viral, not antibody tests). Surveillance testing helps to identify COVID-19 transmission early and allows mitigation actions to be taken before a widespread outbreak occurs.
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