Yellowstone to reopen South Loop next week

Yellowstone to reopen

Yellowstone National Park could reopen the southern end of the park by next week. That’s what Superintendent Cam Sholly told business owners and residents of Jackson Hole yesterday during a virtual meeting. Sholly explained that first, the park needs to assure the infrastructure is sound to serve the public. With regard to that infrastructure, the superintendent said efforts need to be made to make limit usage in the southern half of the park so that the infrastructure doesn’t break down from overuse.

Consequently, the park is examining alternatives for a potential reservation system, like several other national parks are already using. However, Sholly says one suggestion that has been made is to admit visitors according to their odd or even license plate numbers.

“If you think about it without some big fancy system that may or may not work that well, it does allow us to fairly easily cut the traffic in half; and then people would need to stay in town or go fly fishing or rafting or something on the days they can’t come into the park. It’s pretty fair from an allocation standpoint – and the more and more that I think about it, it may be at least a solution to try for a couple weeks as opposed to waiting until we get packed and then turning people back at the gate.  So I know there a lot of bugs to get worked out on that But I’m just throwing that out there as what initially seemed like something to disregard, but the more I think about it in this kind of emergency situation, it may be a quick way for us to avoid cancellations, still encourage bookings, and modulate the traffic within the southern loop,” Sholly said.

Sholly says to craft an implement a more formal reservation system would take about three weeks to bring on line, while this could be implemented immediately upon reopening. He adds that initially in concept, all gateway communities have encouraged exploring the option.

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