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Posted by
8853 posts

Rather poor report that it does not address if/how folks are able to leave.

Then there will be the inspections and necessary road repairs once the water is gone.

Life just got 'very interesting' for a lot of people.

Posted by
9929 posts

I was in Mammoth for the last 4 nights and had stayed in Gardiner the 3 nights before, doing a class.

It started raining Saturday night and was still raining when I left this AM. I left from Mammoth at 830 before they lost power and before they made the decision to evacuate. Since then they have made the decision to close all lodging and campgrounds.

I headed South from Mammoth (only road open) and while there were areas that were flooded there was no water over the road. I stopped at a campground where a friend was staying to update her as there is no cell service there. She’d left already as the bridge to that campground will be swamped.

As I approached the main intersection at Norris I saw a Ranger pull around me into the other lane and realized he was closing Northbound. I headed over to go South to the Tetons I had more rsin snd of course snow!

The way south was fine. No major flooding yet but the Yellowstone Lake can hold a lot if water.

As I approached the South entrance I got a text from Yellowstone roads that all inbound traffic had been stopped. Subsequent to that was notified that all lodging is canceled through Thursday with a re-eval after road assessments. I have a week at OF starting Thursday so will decide what to do as I can cancel without penalty. Xanterra, the lodging concessioner, is very good with refunds.

The town of Red Lodge is inundated with bridges out.

The tiwn if Gardiner is cut off with the road out to Yellowstone to the south and major bridge dsmage to the north in Yankee jim Canyon. There us a dirt back road from Gardiner to Mammoth. The last tine there was a landslide in Gardiner Canyon they used that road fir thru traffic. I expect they will assess it for damage and try to get people from Gardiner out that way.

Cooke City/Silvergate are cut off from Yellowstone but not sure how the bridges are east of and between them.

There are great hunks of the NE Entrance road that are gone.

YNP FB page has astonishing video.

https://www.facebook.com/YellowstoneNPS/

I shared a public post from a friend and have now made it public on my Fb. He took dome if the pictures but not all.

https://www.facebook.com/1415005739/posts/pfbid02bB8EG8mLZYEt4GuobY6LJYwhKDPG3KFdEwHAXDgQgrkDwSNhoCMP2biMQnyrWh9wl/?d=n

Posted by
9929 posts

Rather poor report that it does not address if/how folks are able to leave.

People IN the park are being directed by NPS or Concession staff to the nearest entrances. I made a comfort stop at Canyon Visitor Center on my way out and they had Ranger staff on hand with maps and highlighters assisting all that needed help.

Here in the Tetons when I checked in the guy at Registration immediately asked my future plans explaining Yellowstone was closed. They had maps and updates at the counter.

Cell service is poor in the park at the best of times so visitors are not likely having access to news releases until they are at a gateway city.

Posted by
2444 posts

Thanks Pam. Our one and only trip to Yellowstone was the trip of a lifetime for us. I know that people are losing their chance for the same experience. But hey - climate change isn't real - that's what they tell us in Texas!

Posted by
843 posts

Wow, Pam. I'm glad you're ok and your friend too. We've been asked to drive a friend's camper van from the west coast to the east and we've just started plotting our route. Floods to the north, extreme heat to the south. Sheesh.

Posted by
13714 posts

Really glad that you're OK too, Pam! We need you here!!!

As difficult as it is to land campsites/lodge rooms for Yellowstone's peak season in the first place, you have to feel some sympathy for the folks who are going to have to miss out.

So on top of floods and heat are the wildfires in the South/Southwest. I feel REALLY terrible for the poor firefighters who've been dealing with those and brutal heat on top of it. :O(

https://www.nifc.gov/fire-information/nfn

Posted by
2218 posts

Pam, when the story came out I immediately thought of you because I knew you were there, although I didn’t know your exact plans. I’m glad to hear you are ok. What a disaster.

Posted by
9929 posts

Thanks for the kind thoughts, my friends!

This morning in the Tetons…let’s see…June 14? Of course, let’s have some snow! Not really sticking but it’s been snowing for about 4 hours!

For anyone planning a trip soon, here’s today’s email update from Superintendent Sholly.

Copied from another group

“Sharing Cam's email at 9:17 AM today for those who might not have access:

Here are the short and long-term objectives we've set and will be focused on as a park for recovery:

• Ensure safety of employees and visitors

• Implement full visitor closure of the northern loop (completed yesterday)

• Implement full visitor closure of the southern loop (ongoing target completion today)

• Implement full visitor closure of the backcountry (in process)

• Evaluate needs for backcountry evacuations (begin today - assess how many people are in the backcountry, evacuation plan)

• Improve Old Gardiner Road (work should begin on this today or tomorrow once precipitation subsides. Plan will be to use this road for admin travel and to evacuate visitors from Gardiner should Hwy 89 remain impassable)

• Restore power to northern Yellowstone sites and Canyon, Lake, and Norris (Northwestern Energy working on this now and are saying should be restored today)

• Evacuate Gardiner visitors through Old Gardiner Road if necessary (likely Thursday or Friday if possible and if Hwy 89 is not open)

• Support Gardiner residents with resupply of food, water and medicine (we will be working with the Gardiner Market and others to determine needs of the community. We may bring supply trucks to Mammoth and fly supplies to Gardiner using the park's aircraft and potentially National Guard air support; working with county and state)

• Support isolated NPS residents at NE entrance with resupply through aircraft when necessary (employees at NE entrance are sheltering in place, we are in contact with them and will gauge their needs to provide assistance. They are cut off from Cooke City)

• Provide support to Cooke City residents as necessary

• Mitigate wastewater impacts of destroyed sewer lines in Gardiner and Mammoth (ongoing)

• Relocate all Mammoth-based concessions employees to properties on the southern loop (happening today and tomorrow)

• Halt and redirect any inbound employees hired to work in Mammoth or Tower who haven't arrived yet

• Support employees who lost housing in Gardiner (multiple actions)

• Prepare for outside teams to travel to Yellowstone and assist with damage assessments when water recedes (mixture of Federal Highways, NPS, and other)

• Prepare strategy for reservation system for southern loop for remainder of the year (we will not allow full visitation into the southern loop when it reopens and are working on options to control the amount of visitors who can enter the park; southern loop will likely not open for another 5 days at minimum)

• Develop long-term reconstruction strategy based on damage assessments; funding strategies TBD with region/WASO/DOI

• Continue substantive communications with gateway communities, congressional and DOI/NPS leadership

• Continue media outreach

I'll get back to you more later as we get more organized - Thanks”

Posted by
5542 posts

Thanks for sharing Pam. It is good to know that such efforts are being made to take care of the people that are impacted by this storm. Yes, it hurts to have a vacation disrupted, but imagine when it is your home that is impacted!

Yellowstone is a survivor. I've watched it recover from horrible wildfires. I know it will recover from this as well.

There are many amazing places to camp, visit, explore in Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming. For those who have had their travels disrupted, I hope that they take advantage of those other locations and find that they can still enjoy their vacation.

Posted by
1292 posts

Pam, I was there the same time you were. We stayed in Livingston but had no plans to go into the park, since we were on our way to Denver (my 12 year old grandson and me). But we went down and looked at the river and it was just wild! Chair and trees and a small septic tank all churning along the river. A couple from Bozeman who we met at dinner were also down at the river and said this is the biggest flood since 1918.

Later, we drove through Bozeman and headed south down Gallatin Rd (Rt. 191) and pretty much followed the Yellowstone River. It was so high and so rough. Later, after we got past Big Sky we ran into a big snowstorm! 32 degrees and snow falling over the place on June 13th - bizarre (and I'm from Duluth!). It lasted about 30 minutes and finally started tapering off. Very weird.

Posted by
9929 posts

Carol, it is resilient!

Mardee!! I can’t imagine what the river looked like up at Livingston! At least one house went in in Gardiner but it had probably broken up by then. BTW, the river 191 follows is the Gallatin. It eventually joins with the Madison to form the Missouri west of Bozeman. I can imagine the churning water in that narrow canyon. Laughing at the snow. Yes, snowed off and on yesterday in the Tetons!!

Interestingly, mentioning the fires if 1988, the Chief Ranger then was Dan Sholly. His son, Cam, is the Park Superintendent now. How bizarre for father and son to have to handle 2 major disasters in the Park.

Posted by
215 posts

Wow, Pam…glad you’re ok! Our daughter worked at Canyon and always said that it was higher ground in case of flooding. But this is almost unprecedented.

Posted by
8853 posts

Interestingly, mentioning the fires if 1988, the Chief Ranger then was Dan Sholly. His son, Cam, is the Park Superintendent now. How bizarre for father and son to have to handle 2 major disasters in the Park.

I wonder if there was a Sholly in charge, or on staff, in 1959 ( earthquake year)

Posted by
1292 posts

Pam, that makes sense! Thanks for the clarification. Whatever the name, it was high - I come from Cincinnati, which deals with flooding every few years, but not this churning rough flooding! Maybe because the waters are narrower and can't spread out like they can in the Ohio?

Posted by
9929 posts

Yes, I suspect being contained in narrow canyons makes things worse!!

The 1959 earthquake epicenter was actually just outside the park, NE of West Yellowstone at a place now called Quake Lake. I would loved to have been in the geyser basins in the aftermath of that temblor. Apparently there were some interesting eruptions.

Cathy, yes Canyon is high and apparently there is a problem with the sewage treatment plant there. I did not see standing water when I drove thru so not sure what the issue is. Apparently the last flood of this size was 1918!

Posted by
9929 posts

Well, shockingly after less than 3 weeks, West, East and South entrances are open. South Loop has been open since June 22. North Loop is set to open July 2. Guides from the Gardiner area have been told via email this morning (from a "trusted source" as they say, lol) they will be able to bring in clients from the North entrance on July 2 over the Old Gardiner Road although it will not be open to the public yet. They are going to allow people to hike in and are considering biking.

https://www.nps.gov/yell/learn/news/220613.htm

From the 22nd until July 2 entries have been on an Alternate License Plate System but that too will be lifted on Saturday.

The Yellowstone leadership has been fantastic with trying to do the best for the park as well as supporting the gateway communities who survive off tourism.

Posted by
1938 posts

Wow, Pam. That is pretty amazing and fast. I am not as surprised about the south, but the north? That is really great for all the people who had a trip of a lifetime planned.

Posted by
338 posts

When I first read the headline I assumed it was going to be about people getting gored by bison again and they closed the park to prevent Darwinism .....

What's amazing is many of us had no idea this was even going on. How in the heck have I not heard of this happening?

Posted by
9929 posts

What's amazing is many of us had no idea this was even going on. How in the heck have I not heard of this happening?

I don’t know, Vick. It’s actually been on the national news each time a section has opened.

Here is a link to a FB page from a Gardiner area resident who walked up the North entrance road as far as allowed over this past weekend.

https://www.facebook.com/1238468403/posts/pfbid03537vg4mWqHy157YvbCp9dZFRmRU6MUSPnVuVFMDesf1ACtAiN49JezrvC9BAQPHXl/

Here is a link to the official photos from the park photographers on Flickr.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/yellowstonenps/albums/72177720299792347/

Posted by
334 posts

There must have been a lot of cancellations because our daughter had no trouble a few weeks ago booking Snow Lodge and Colter Bay for next week. I am amazed by how quickly they have been able to open up so much of the park. I feel really bad for the businesses in Gardiner and the Cooke City area that are cut off from the park:(

Posted by
9929 posts

@mnannie, yes, I think a lot of people cancelled when they were unsure how quickly things would reopen and due to the Alternate License Plate System employed to control entry numbers at the beginning. Still often quite a line up on the West Gate webcams in the AMs.

Posted by
334 posts

Yes, Bob looks at the webcam frequently. We are always grateful we don't need to use that entrance!