Emergency funding of $50 million will be made available for Yellowstone National Park to begin work to repair damages caused by last week’s historic floods, park officials have announced.
At the same time, officials announced the park’s northern loop should be open in two weeks or less, restoring access to 80% of the park less than three weeks after flooding damaged park roads and infrastructure and forced its evacuation.
The announcements came Sunday during a visit to the park by National Park Service Director Chuck Sams, when he and Yellowstone Superintendent Cam Sholly.
The park was closed and evacuated June 13, when floods caused by heavy rains and melting snow damaged portions of the park’s northern loop, with the worst damage occurring on U.S. Highway 89 linking the park’s north entrance near Gardiner, Montana, with its northeast entrance near Cooke City, Montana.
$50 Million Emergency Funds
The $50 million will be used to restore temporary access between Gardiner and Cooke City, work that will be done by crews that were already in the park working on a 22-mile repair project between Old Faithful and the West Thumb Geyser Basin.
Those crews will be put to work improving the Old Gardiner Road highway to provide access between Yellowstone and Gardiner.
Park officials announced Saturday that the park’s southern loop will open Wednesday, providing access to Madison Old Faithful, Grant Village, Lake Village, Canyon Village and Norris through its southern, western and eastern entrances.
Opening of the northern loop, which had not been expected to occur until later this summer, will provide access through the northern entrance at Gardiner to Dunraven Pass, Tower, Mammoth Hot Springs and Norris, the park service said.
Officials continue their work to determine when the park’s northeastern entrance near Cooke City might be reopened.
“Currently, the northeast entrance road is impassable between Lamar Valley and Silver Gate,” the park said in a statement. “Cost, funding and timelines are not yet available for these long- or short-term repairs to the northeast entrance road but will be released as soon as possible.”