Thu, 07 Jul 2022

CODY, Wyoming: All five entrances to Yellowstone National Park, spanning parts of Wyoming, Montana and Idaho, will remain closed to visitors due to record flooding and rockslides triggered by heavy rains.

Visitors with lodging and camping reservations will not be allowed to enter the park at least through mid-week, as officials inspect damage to roads, bridges and other facilities.

Yellowstone was gearing up to celebrate its 150th anniversary year, as local communities heavily dependent on tourism were counting on a rebound following COVID-19 travel restrictions over the past two summers.

"It is likely that the northern loop will be closed for a substantial amount of time," the park superintendent, Cam Sholly, said in a statement.

Aerial footage released by the Park Service showed large swaths of the winding North Entrance Road between Gardiner and park headquarters in Mammoth Hot Springs, Wyoming, carved away by surging floodwaters along the Gardner River - washouts that will likely take months to fully repair.

Also, power outages were seen throughout the park, and preliminary assessments showed numerous roadways across Yellowstone either washed away or covered in rocks and mud, with a number of bridges also damaged, the National Park Service said.

The flooding was triggered by continuous heavy rain at the park and steady rains across much of the wider Intermountain West. A sudden spike in summer temperatures in the last three days also hastened the melting and runoff of snow accumulated in the park's higher elevations from late-winter storms.

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