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Yellowstone reopening
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Yellowstone partially reopening starting Monday

FILE - In this May 21, 2011, file photo, tourists photograph Old Faithful erupting on schedule late in the afternoon in Yellowstone National Park, Wyo. A thermal spring near Old Faithful in Yellowstone National Park has erupted for the fourth time in the last 60 years, a park official said Thursday, Sept. 20, 2018. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson, File)

YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK — Yellowstone National Park will be partially reopening beginning on May 18, nearly two months after it closed to visitors in March.


The park spans nearly 3500 square miles across three states and has introduced a phased plan to return to normal operations. 

Park officials say the first two phases are flexible and that there is no clear delineation between them. They added, as they have the staffing and ability to open services safely, they will do so.

Initially, the park plans to open the South and East entrances of the park located in Wyoming. They plan to limit the number of visitors allowed on the lower loop of the park, which grants access to Yellowstone Lake, the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, the Norris Geyser Basin, Old Faithful, West Thumb, and Grant Village.

The park will not offer overnight accommodations until later in the season.

Phase 1 of the reopening phase also includes the reopening of public restrooms and gas stations. Trails, boardwalks and some approved tours will also be allowed.

“The park’s goal is to open safely and conservatively, ensure we take the right actions to reduce risks to our employees and visitors, and help local economies begin to recover,” said Superintendent Cam Sholly says.

“I appreciate the cooperation we’ve had with our surrounding governors, counties, communities, and health officials in working through these challenging decisions. Our goal is to get the remaining entrances open as quickly and safely as possible.” 

The park’s three entrances in Montana will initially remain closed.

Closed until conditions permit

Yellowstone says that they hope to reach the later phases of reopening as the season progresses. Park officials also hope to expand some of their services in May or June as health conditions allow. 

During Phase 2 of their plan, overnight services, campgrounds, commercial tour bus service would resume operation. Also included would be boating, fishing, backcountry permits and takeout. 

Yellowstone says all visitors should expect and come prepared to follow all CDC and local health guidelines and that face coverings are recommended where social distancing is not possible.


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