Despite the dire stories, Yellowstone is open for business


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By Wendy Corr, Cowboy State Daily

One Florida family is happy to have overlooked the terrible stories that unfolded in Yellowstone National Park in mid-June.

When torrential rains and rapid snowmelt caused devastating flooding in the northern part of the park on June 13, authorities decided to close the entire park, not just the part that had suffered damaged highways and water systems. contaminated water.

On Wednesday, June 22, after it was determined that Yellowstone’s South “loop” was safe for visitors, three of the gates reopened – and Jamie Bunn, his wife and teenage boys were among those who ventured into the park a little after.

“Obviously everyone is aware of the damage that has been done to the north end of Yellowstone,” he said. “We didn’t want it to ruin our trip. And we didn’t want to cancel, and thank God we didn’t. We shifted gears and did the Tetons for two or three days. And it was absolutely fabulous.

The Bunn family were among thousands of visitors to Yellowstone last week – although entering Yellowstone National Park isn’t as easy as it used to be.



Since park officials reopened Yellowstone’s South Loop, strict gate control ensures that only those authorized to enter can pass through on any given day, an effort to ease the strain on infrastructure and staff in the part of the park. which is open to the public.

Under the park system, those whose license plate number ends in an even number will only be allowed entry on even days and those whose number ends in an odd number will be allowed entry on odd days .

Those who don’t have the correct last digit on their license plate turn around before they can even experience the winding roads, abundant wildlife and thermal features of America’s first national park.

But for those who walk through the door, the experience isn’t much different than any other summer day in Yellowstone.

bucket list

Bunn said his family’s vacation to Yellowstone was a trip on the bucket list, and although they heard about the flooding in the northern part of the park, it didn’t deter them.

“I mean, obviously, we’d like to see the north end of Yellowstone,” Bunn continued, “and we’re not going to be able to, but we’ve been through the south end so far, the loop.”

Bunn, who called himself an avid outdoorsman, said his family created some incredible memories.

“Literally I had an elk, a male velvet elk, 20 feet away from me, feeding,” he said. “It was the most phenomenal and amazing thing I have ever seen.”

Since the park’s new license plate system filters out about half of potential visitors each day, there were plenty of parking spots open Friday in places like Canyon Village and Lower Falls.

The flooding that occurred in Yellowstone on June 13, although primarily affecting the northern portion of the park, still impacted the southern loop. For example, Pelican Creek looks a bit more like Pelican Lake right now.

Otherwise, Yellowstone remains beautifully the same, with open guest services, plenty of wildlife viewing and hiking opportunities, and ample parking.

“We just saw buffalo in front, we saw a herd of elk,” Bunn said. “I mean, we saw a lot of different wildlife and a lot of great scenery. So it’s been everything we hoped for, even despite what’s happening, you know, with the park closures up north. »

Bunn said he hopes word gets out that Yellowstone is open for business.

“I would say to anyone who’s been back and forth, or wondering if they’re coming based on everything you see and read in the news about park closures – don’t let that hold you back,” said Bunn said. “There is so much to see and do here. And I wish we had more time.

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