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Yellowstone announces Northern Loop will open in two weeks or so after receiving funding

Superintendent, Cam Sholly, and Chief of Facility Maintenance, Duane Bubac, looking at damage in Gardner River Canyon
Jacob W. Frank
Superintendent, Cam Sholly, and Chief of Facility Maintenance, Duane Bubac, looking at damage in Gardner River Canyon

Last week, Yellowstone National Park officials were saying the northern loop of the park may not open this summer. But Yellowstone National Park spokeswoman Cynthia Hernandez said $50 million in special funding from the National Park Service will help quicken the park's opening timeline.

"So, with this funding, and the plans in place, we're hoping to open the northern part of the park within two weeks or less," she said.

This will allow visitors to access Dunraven Pass, Tower, Mammoth Hot Springs and Norris. That will open visitor access to approximately 80 percent of the park.

The funding will also be used to make sure Gardiner and Cook City in Montana can be accessed. Then officials will look into potentially opening the northern gates in Montana.

Road construction crews and materials that were already in the park for a scheduled road project to repair the Grand Loop Road between Old Faithful and West Thumb Geyser Basin will be used instead for that road to access the North gate. This will make sure that essential services can be provided along that road during the winter months.

Park officials say they will look for any opportunity to restore limited visitor access at the North Entrance. They will also look at a range of temporary and permanent options to return visitor access to the northeast entrance at Cooke City. But currently the road is not drivable between Lamar Valley and Silver Gate.

The southern loop will be open at 8 a.m. Wednesday, June 22. That loop is accessed by the two Wyoming gates and West Yellowstone, Montana.

Hernandez said the park has implemented a visitor access plan to limit the amount of people visiting the park for the next three weeks or so.

"So based on your license plate, an odd numbered last digit can enter on odd days of the month, same with even on even days, and license plates that are only letters will fall into the odd category," said Hernandez.

Zero will be considered an even number. Personalized plates with numbers in them as well will refer to the last number on the plate. Motorcycles will be allowed in the park on even days.

Hernandez said anyone with a hotel or campground reservation can enter the park the day of that booking. She said the park is working hard to repair infrastructure so people can visit safely.

For more information, visit the Yellowstone National Park website.

Kamila has worked for public radio stations in California, New York, France and Poland. Originally from New York City, she loves exploring new places. Kamila received her master in journalism from Columbia University. In her spare time, she enjoys exploring the surrounding areas with her two pups and husband.
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