March 1st means two things in Yellowstone: a celebration of the birth of the world's first national park in 1872, and the beginning of the end of motorized oversnow travel in the park's interior for another year.
Commercially guided snowmobile and snowcoach travel between Fishing Bridge and the park's East Entrance over Sylvan Pass ends at 9:00 p.m. on Thursday, March 1. Closures on other road segments will occur during the next two weeks, with all oversnow travel scheduled to end for the season at 9:00 p.m. Thursday, March 15.
Once the roads close to oversnow travel, crews will begin to clear them of snow so they can reopen to automobile travel in the spring, beginning Friday, April 20, weather permitting.
At Old Faithful, the Bear Den Gift Shop closes for the season on Saturday, March 3. The Old Faithful Snow Lodge, Cabins, and Dining Room will close for the winter season on Sunday, March 4. The Geyser Grill and the Old Faithful Visitor Education Center will remain open through Thursday, March 15.
At Mammoth Hot Springs, the Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel, Dining Room, and Gift Shop will close for the season Monday, March 5. The Mammoth Campground, Yellowstone General Store, Post Office, Medical Clinic, the Albright Visitor Center, and self-serve fuel pumps are open all year.
The National Park Service (NPS) is working on a long-term plan to guide winter use in Yellowstone. The public comment period for the scoping phase for the Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is open until March 9. A Draft Supplemental EIS will be released for public review and comment late this spring. The NPS intends to have a final Supplemental EIS, a Record of Decision, and a long-term regulation for winter use in Yellowstone in place before the mid-December start of the 2012-2013 winter season.
The road from Gardiner, Montana, through the park's North Entrance to Mammoth Hot Springs to Cooke City, Montana, is open to automobiles all year, weather permitting. Self-serve fuel is available all year at Tower Junction. Updated Yellowstone National Park road information is available 24 hours a day by calling 307-344-2117.
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