Yellowstone to Reopen Southern Loop on June 22
According to a press release by the National Park Service, Yellowstone National Park will begin allowing visitors to access the south loop of the park on June 22, which is accessed from Cody, West Yellowstone, and Jackson.
This will include Old Faithful, West Thumb, Grant Village, Bridge Bay, Fishing Bridge, Lake Village, Norris visitor services, West Yellowstone visitor information center, and Canyon Village visitor education center.
Overnight use from trailheads in the south will open on July 1.
Other areas in the south loop will remain closed, including the Canyon Village Lodges and Cabins, Canyon, Madison, Norris, and Lewis Lake campgrounds, the Fishing Bridge Visitor Center, and Trailside Museum.
Yellowstone will be putting an interim visitor access plan in place, called the Alternating License Plate System (ALPS) so that the park doesn't get overwhelmed by visitors.
The ALPS selects which visitors can be let into the park based on whether the last number on a license plate is odd or even, with odd-numbered plates entering on odd days and even-numbered plates entering on even days.
Personalized plates fall into the odd category.
Superintendent Cam Sholly said in the release:
"Less than six days ago, Yellowstone National Park was hit with devastating floods," Sholly said. "Thanks to the tremendous efforts of our teams and partners, we are prepared to reopen the south loop of Yellowstone. It is impossible to reopen only one loop in the summer without implementing some type of system to manage visitation. My thanks to our gateway partners and others for helping us work out an acceptable temporary solution for the south loop while we continue our efforts to reopen the north loop. As we go through the reopening process, we will monitor the system’s effectiveness and work together to make adjustments that may be necessary. We will also reopen new sections of the park as repairs continue to be made. It is critical for visitors to stay informed about this interim system as we evaluate its effectiveness. They should plan ahead and be patient with us as we are still managing significant recovery while moving into this operational phase."
Other sections of the park may or may not be reopened prior to roads closing on Nov. 1, with park managers evaluating whether to reopen roads connecting Canyon Village, Tower Junction, Mammoth Hot Spring, and Norris.
According to the release, Yellowstone is also working to reconnect Mammoth Hot Springs to Gardiner and Cooke City/Silver Gate as soon as possible with temporary solutions, while the long-term reconstruction is planned, though no additional details were provided.