NPS Press Release: Yellowstone (Partial) Reopening on May 18

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Bruce
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NPS Press Release: Yellowstone (Partial) Reopening on May 18

Post by Bruce »

News Release Date: May 13, 2020

Contact: Morgan Warthin, (307) 344-2015

MAMMOTH HOT SPRINGS, WY - Following guidance from the White House, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and state and local public health authorities, Yellowstone National Park will reopen on a limited basis on May 18. The park has been closed to visitors since March 24, 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"It was great to welcome Vice President Mike Pence and Second Lady Karen Pence to Yellowstone National Park and First Lady Melania Trump to Grand Teton National Park last year. These are incredible places that are special to the American public. I appreciate Superintendent Cam Sholly and Acting Superintendent Gopaul Noojibail for working with Governor Gordon and health officials to make the parks accessible to the public," said Secretary of the Interior David L. Bernhardt.

Yellowstone has outlined a three-phased plan that initially opens the South and East entrances of Wyoming and limits visitor travel to the lower loop of the park. The lower loop allows visitors to access Lake, Canyon, Norris, Old Faithful, West Thumb, and Grant Village.

Wyoming has lifted out-of-state travel restrictions and has requested the state’s entrances open the week of May 18. Montana and Idaho continue to have out-of-state restrictions in place and the park is working closely with these states and counties to open the remaining three entrances as soon as possible.

“I want to thank Yellowstone Superintendent Sholly for his thoughtful communication with all interested parties about the park’s plan for reopening,” Governor Gordon said. “This measured approach will help protect employees, visitors, and neighboring communities. It will also give us useful experience as we look ahead to opening other areas of the park, provide a boost to Wyoming’s tourism industry, and help get America’s economy up and going again.”

This limited opening approach will accomplish three objectives in the short term: 1) allow the park to continue buffering with states that are maintaining restrictions; 2) help the park and internal business partners improve and refine mitigation actions with lighter levels of visitation; and 3) allow for an assessment of how returning visitors affect COVID-19 curves within surrounding Wyoming counties.

The park’s reopening priorities center on protecting employees and the public from transmission risks through a variety of mitigation actions consistent with local, state, and federal guidance. The park will actively monitor changing conditions (in the park and in surrounding counties); and will maintain flexibility to expand, adjust, or contract operations as conditions warrant.

“The park’s goal is to open safely and conservatively, ensure we take the right actions to reduce risks to our employees and visitors, and help local economies begin to recover,” said Superintendent Cam Sholly. “I appreciate the cooperation we’ve had with our surrounding governors, counties, communities, and health officials in working through these challenging decisions. Our goal is to get the remaining entrances open as quickly and safely as possible.”

The park has developed a range of mitigation actions that include: providing 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.

What will be open beginning May 18?


Phase 1 will begin on Monday, May 18 at 12:00 p.m. with the opening of the South and East entrances in the state of Wyoming.
Visitors will be able to access the lower loop of the Grand Loop Road (see attached map) coming in and out of the South and East entrances only.
Visitors will be able to access restrooms, self-service gas stations, trails and boardwalks, and other Phase 1 facilities that are prepared to open.

What will remain closed until later phases of the plan?


The Montana entrances (North, West, and Northeast) will remain closed. The park is consulting with the Governor of Montana to establish reopening dates for the Montana entrances.
Commercial tour buses will not be allowed in the early phases of opening.
Overnight accommodations will be unavailable until later in the season.
Campgrounds, backcountry permits, visitor cabins, additional stores, expanded tours, takeout food service, boating, fishing, and visitor centers will remain closed. These Phase 2 services and/or facilities will open when safe and appropriate mitigation measures are in place. This will happen at different times.
Hotels, full-service dining, commercial tour buses, and ranger programs will remain closed. These Phase 3 services and/or facilities will reopen when health conditions allow.

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. The CDC has provided specific guidance on visiting parks and recreational facilities.

“I’m asking the public to partner with us to prevent the spread of COVID-19,” said Superintendent Cam Sholly. “Visitors can protect their family and friends by skipping areas that are too crowded and always maintaining social distance from other people, including rangers. The National Park Service can’t do this alone and will continue to work with all stakeholders to best protect the public and our employees.”

Previously-scheduled road construction projects will continue this summer. Normal annual bear management area closures will be in effect. Many areas of the park are still experiencing winter conditions. The park will provide details and updates for operations as they change on http://www.nps.gov/yell and on the park’s social media channels. Updates about NPS operations will be posted on www.nps.gov/coronavirus.


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Dorothy
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Joined: Sat Jul 29, 2017 7:45 pm

Re: NPS Press Release: Yellowstone (Partial) Reopening on May 18

Post by Dorothy »

Thanks for the info. Has there been any updated data on a possible opening date? I have been checking around and found one story (in the Bozeman newspaper? Can't remember) that said the Montana entrances wouldn't open before June 1. I have reservations in Gardiner on June 1, and will need to cancel them if that entrance isn't open so would appreciate it if people would post here if they hear anything else. No use staying in Gardiner if the entrance isn't open! I AM excited that the parks are beginning to open and hope things go smoothly so we can safely visit them again.



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dagobah
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Re: NPS Press Release: Yellowstone (Partial) Reopening on May 18

Post by dagobah »

I am posting this at 9:53 am on Sunday, May 31, 2020. We all know the 3 Montana entrances (to Yellowstone) are scheduled to open at 10:00 am tomorrow (Monday, June 1, 2020). I wanted to know what exact time the road gate (currently closed) at the Norris intersection will open on Monday, June 1, 2020 . . . . . in order to drive north from that point to access the northern part of Yellowstone. I just spoke (via phone) with a National Park Service employee and he told me it also will not open until 10:00 am. :x


exploring nature in the Yellowstone/Grand Teton area

RikWriter
Posts: 281
Joined: Tue Jul 25, 2017 8:36 pm

Re: NPS Press Release: Yellowstone (Partial) Reopening on May 18

Post by RikWriter »

I got back yesterday from two weeks in Y-stone and Grand Teton and it was one of the best trips ever. Hardly anyone there until near the end.



liv4mtns
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Joined: Mon Feb 19, 2018 3:23 pm

Re: NPS Press Release: Yellowstone (Partial) Reopening on May 18

Post by liv4mtns »

Anyone know if the campgrounds ( Tower Falls ) in particular are open yet, or opening soon? Can't find any clear info online.

Kevin.



RikWriter
Posts: 281
Joined: Tue Jul 25, 2017 8:36 pm

Re: NPS Press Release: Yellowstone (Partial) Reopening on May 18

Post by RikWriter »

liv4mtns wrote:
Sun Jun 28, 2020 2:57 pm
Anyone know if the campgrounds ( Tower Falls ) in particular are open yet, or opening soon? Can't find any clear info online.

Kevin.
Tower Falls campground won't be open this year or next because the road is closed.



liv4mtns
Posts: 5
Joined: Mon Feb 19, 2018 3:23 pm

Re: NPS Press Release: Yellowstone (Partial) Reopening on May 18

Post by liv4mtns »

RikWriter wrote:
Sun Jun 28, 2020 3:58 pm
liv4mtns wrote:
Sun Jun 28, 2020 2:57 pm
Anyone know if the campgrounds ( Tower Falls ) in particular are open yet, or opening soon? Can't find any clear info online.

Kevin.
Tower Falls campground won't be open this year or next because the road is closed.
Thanks Rik. I take it when you say "the road is closed", you're referring to the road up to the campground?

Kevin.



RikWriter
Posts: 281
Joined: Tue Jul 25, 2017 8:36 pm

Re: NPS Press Release: Yellowstone (Partial) Reopening on May 18

Post by RikWriter »

liv4mtns wrote:
Mon Jun 29, 2020 2:52 am
RikWriter wrote:
Sun Jun 28, 2020 3:58 pm
liv4mtns wrote:
Sun Jun 28, 2020 2:57 pm
Anyone know if the campgrounds ( Tower Falls ) in particular are open yet, or opening soon? Can't find any clear info online.

Kevin.
Tower Falls campground won't be open this year or next because the road is closed.
Thanks Rik. I take it when you say "the road is closed", you're referring to the road up to the campground?

Kevin.
I mean the entire road from Roosevelt Junction to Canyon, going through the Dunraven. Closed for two full years for construction.



mdtrot
Posts: 81
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Location: East Texas

Re: NPS Press Release: Yellowstone (Partial) Reopening on May 18

Post by mdtrot »

RikWriter wrote:
Mon Jun 29, 2020 6:11 am
liv4mtns wrote:
Mon Jun 29, 2020 2:52 am
RikWriter wrote:
Sun Jun 28, 2020 3:58 pm


Tower Falls campground won't be open this year or next because the road is closed.
Thanks Rik. I take it when you say "the road is closed", you're referring to the road up to the campground?

Kevin.
I mean the entire road from Roosevelt Junction to Canyon, going through the Dunraven. Closed for two full years for construction.
Yes, makes it tough if you are primarily interested in hitting Hayden and Lamar, as it makes for a long drive between them.



RikWriter
Posts: 281
Joined: Tue Jul 25, 2017 8:36 pm

Re: NPS Press Release: Yellowstone (Partial) Reopening on May 18

Post by RikWriter »

mdtrot wrote:
Mon Jun 29, 2020 8:51 am
RikWriter wrote:
Mon Jun 29, 2020 6:11 am
liv4mtns wrote:
Mon Jun 29, 2020 2:52 am


Thanks Rik. I take it when you say "the road is closed", you're referring to the road up to the campground?

Kevin.
I mean the entire road from Roosevelt Junction to Canyon, going through the Dunraven. Closed for two full years for construction.
Yes, makes it tough if you are primarily interested in hitting Hayden and Lamar, as it makes for a long drive between them.
I usually go in early May, when the Dunraven isn't open anyway, so I am used to it.



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