Yellowstone National Park reopens, aided by $50 million in federal funds

Thursday, June 23, 2022
Some roads in Yellowstone National Park, like this one between Gardiner and Mammoth, were damaged during flooding last week. Additional flood related articles on pages 4, 6 and 12. Photo courtesy of YNP

Some roads in Yellowstone National Park, like this one between Gardiner and Mammoth, were damaged during flooding last week. Additional flood related articles on pages 4, 6 and 12. Photo courtesy of YNP

The National Park Service announced Monday expedited plans to reopen 80 percent of Yellowstone National Park, making use of $50 million in emergency Federal Highway Administration funding from the Biden Administration requested by U.S. Senators Tester and Daines and Congressman Matt Rosendale.

The Montana congressional delegation urged the Federal Highway Administration to take immediate action and provide much needed funding through the FWHA Emergency Relief programs to areas affected by flooding. They also sent a letter to President Biden, urging the approval of a major disaster declaration and activation of critical FEMA assistant and support for recovery efforts.

“This is great news for Montana’s gateway communities, who are working hard to rebuild after the devastating floods that have impacted businesses, homes, and livelihoods,” the Montana delegation said in a joint statement. “The effect of this severe weather on our state’s economy cannot be overstated, and we’re grateful for the swift efforts by the federal government to re-open Yellowstone National Park and assist the surrounding communities with their recovery.”

The State of Montana submitted a disaster declaration request to the federal government on June 15, in response to major flooding across south-central Montana, which was approved by President Biden the next day. Severe weather has resulted in significant property damage to homes, businesses, roads, sewers, water systems and Yellowstone National Park. Acting Governor Kirsten Juras declared a statewide disaster on June 14.

The National Park Service also announced that in addition to the park’s southern loop reopening on June 22, the park’s northern loop is expected to reopen in two weeks or less following completion of clean-up, repairs and final inspection of the northern loop infrastructure. This will allow visitors to access Dunraven Pass, Tower, Mammoth Hot Springs and Norris opening visitor access to approximately 80 percent of Yellowstone National Park. Additional details on access will be announced in the coming weeks

The initial $50 million will be used to restore temporary access to Gardiner and Cooke City, Montana and other additional sites. Plans are being finalized for improving the Old Gardiner Road for temporary access between Yellowstone and Gardiner, Montana. In partnership with the Federal Highways Administration, road construc tion crews and materials that were already in the park for a previously scheduled road project to repair 22 miles of the Grand Loop Road between Old Faithful and West Thumb Geyser Basin will be diverted to the Old Gardiner Road project.

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