Comments sought for bridge work

The National Park Service seeks public comment on a proposal to replace the Yellowstone River Bridge in Yellowstone National Park. The bridge is located on the Northeast Entrance Road near Tower Junction. 

This project will maintain safe visitor access from the park’s Northeast Entrance since the bridge is part of the only road corridor in the park that is open year-round and plowed in the winter. Built in the early 1960s, the concrete deck, sidewalks, and parapets have deteriorated.

The Environmental Assessment (EA) for the proposed project would evaluate three alternatives. 

The EA is scheduled to be completed by spring 2020. A decision on the project would occur likely by summer 2020.  

For more information about this proposal, visit https://parkplanning.nps.gov/yrb.

Sept. visits down

Yellowstone hosted 693,118 visits in September 2019. This is a 4.3 percent decrease from September 2018.

So far in 2019, the park has hosted 3,807,814 visits, down 1.4 percent from the same period last year. 

The continued high level of visitation in the park underscores the importance of planning a Yellowstone adventure ahead of time. Visitors should anticipate delays or limited parking at popular destinations, and check current conditions on the park’s website before they arrive.

$75M to be invested on park roads 

There will be three major road construction projects in Yellowstone National Park in 2020. One project will have a complete closure between Tower Fall and Chittenden Road, while two projects will cause delays (North Entrance and Fishing Bridge to Indian Pond).

“Our staff does an amazing job planning and implementing these road projects to maximize improvements while minimizing the impacts to visitors and gateway communities,” said Superintendent Cam Sholly. “These construction projects are critical to improving safety, access, and visitor experience along Yellowstone’s roads.” 

Addressing the deferred maintenance backlog is part of the National Park Service’s core mission to preserve national parks and provide a world-class visitor experience. In 2018, Yellowstone reported a conservative backlog estimate of $586 million, more than half of which is related to park roads. With the completion of these three road construction projects, the park will reduce its deferred maintenance backlog by at least $50 million.

Nearly all entrances, roads close in Yellowstone Nov. 4

This weekend, November 2-3, provides the last chance for visitors to drive to many iconic locations in Yellowstone. The West, South, and East Entrances and all roads, with one exception, will close to vehicle travel at 8 a.m. Monday, November 4, so the park can prepare them for the winter season and snowmobile and snowcoach travel, which will begin Sunday, December 15. 

The one exception is the road from the park’s North Entrance at Gardiner, Montana, through Mammoth Hot Springs to the park’s Northeast Entrance and the communities of Cooke City and Silver Gate, Montana. This road is open all year, weather-permitting. Travel east of Cooke City is not possible from late fall to spring because a segment of US 212 (Beartooth Highway) between Cooke City and Pilot Creek is closed to vehicle travel. 

If you plan to drive to and in the park during the fall and winter, please have flexible travel plans and prepare for changing weather conditions. Temporary travel restrictions or closures can occur at any time without notice. Visit Park Roads for the status of Yellowstone roads. Receive Yellowstone road alerts on your mobile phone, text “82190” to 888-777 (an automatic text reply will confirm receipt and provide instructions). 

Extensive information for planning a winter visit in Yellowstone, including information about lodging, camping, services, and activities, is available on the park’s web site at www.nps.gov/yell.