Record floods and landslides triggered by heavy rain caused all five entrances to Yellowstone National Park to close at the start of the summer tourist season, the park superintendent said. The entire park, which covers parts of Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho, will remain closed to visitors, including those who have booked accommodation and camping, until at least Wednesday as officials inspect damage to roads, bridges. and other facilities.
The closures come as Yellowstone was preparing to celebrate its 150th anniversary and as local communities heavily dependent on tourism were counting on a rebound after Covid-19 travel restrictions over the past two summers. All five entrances to the park were closed to inbound traffic for the first time in the summer following the series of devastating fires in 1988.
The National Park Service said it is working to evacuate remaining visitors and personnel at various locations, particularly in Yellowstone’s worst-hit northern flank. “The Northern Ring is likely to be closed for a significant period of time,” 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 the park headquarters in Mammoth Hot Springs, Wyoming, carved out by rising floods along the Gardner River, run-offs that are likely to take months to complete. take shelter.
There are power outages throughout the park, and preliminary assessments have shown that numerous roads across Yellowstone have been swept away or covered with rocks and mud, with a number of bridges damaged as well, the agency said. Several roads in the southern region of the park were on the verge of flooding, with extra rain forecast. The floods and landslides were triggered by days of torrential downpours in the park and constant rainfall across much of the wider Intermountain West following one of the region’s wettest springs in many years.
A sudden rise in summer temperatures over the past three days has also accelerated the melting and runoff of snow accumulated in the park’s higher elevations due to late winter storms. Heavy rains and rapid snow runoff melted to create treacherous conditions in the park just two weeks after the traditional Memorial Day holiday weekend of the US summer tourist season, which accounts for the majority of 4 million visitors. annuals of Yellowstone. Yellowstone, established as the world’s first national park in 1872 and prized as one of America’s premier outdoor travel destinations, occupies approximately 2.2 million acres (890,308 hectares) and is famous for its geysers, the abundant wildlife and spectacular scenery.
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