Energy & Environment

Yellowstone closes all entrances due to ‘unprecedented’ flooding

National Park Service

The National Park Service (NPS) closed all entrances to Yellowstone National Park on Monday amid “unprecedented amounts” of rainfall and flooding, with the agency now evacuating visitors in one of the country’s busiest national parks.

The NPS said no visitors, including those with existing reservations, will be allowed to enter the park effective immediately, warning that many roads could be closed for an “extended period of time.”

Park officials said some roads have experienced substantial flooding, rockslides and mudslides, while other roadways are on the verge of being flooded, which would further restrict access around the park.

Flood levels on the Yellowstone River have surpassed previous records, according to the agency. With additional rainfall forecast over the next few days, park officials also raised concerns about strains on wastewater and water treatment facilities.

“We will not know timing of the park’s reopening until flood waters subside and we’re able to assess the damage throughout the park,” Yellowstone National Park Superintendent Cam Sholly said in a statement. “It is likely that the northern loop will be closed for a substantial amount of time.”

Sholly added that park staff’s first priority has been to evacuate visitors near the northern loop of the park, which the NPS closed hours before extending the shutdown to all entrances.

The NPS will begin evacuating visitors in the park’s southern loop later today.

“I appreciate the efforts of the Yellowstone team and partners to safely evacuate areas of the park and of our gateway community partners who are helping us through this major event,” Sholly said.

Sholly also said the NPS, the local county and the state of Montana are assisting those isolated in the town of Gardiner — located at the north entrance to Yellowstone — with some residents having lost water and power.

The National Weather Service issued a flood warning for some areas due to what the agency called “excessive” rainfall, warning campers and hikers to avoid streams or creeks.

“Flooding is occurring or is imminent,” the warning states. “It is important to know where you are relative to streams, rivers, or creeks which can become killers in heavy rains.”

The NPS said visitors who have plans to visit Yellowstone in upcoming weeks should pay close attention to the status of road conditions.

Yellowstone, which comprises 3,472 square miles largely in northwestern Wyoming, is one of the nation’s oldest national parks, attracting 4.9 million visitors in 2021. The closures come near the start of the busy summer season.

Tags Cam Sholly flooding mudslides Yellowstone National Park

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