Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Roads from West Yellowstone and Mammoth Hot Springs to Old Faithful Set To Open This Friday

Yellowstone National Park will open the roads from West Yellowstone and Mammoth Hot Springs to Old Faithful on Friday, April 19th, as originally scheduled.

Budget cuts due to the impacts of sequestration prompted the park to take many administrative actions and make changes to park operations for this season. This included delaying the start of plowing from March 4 until March 18, which pushed back the scheduled opening of roads by one to two weeks.

Favorable weather conditions, below average snow levels, and assistance from the Wyoming Department of Transportation have allowed the park to prepare some road segments for automobile travel earlier than anticipated. This will permit Yellowstone to open the roads from West Yellowstone and Mammoth Hot Springs to Old Faithful to visitors at 8:00 a.m. on Friday, April 19.

Restroom facilities will be available at Madison Junction and Old Faithful starting April 19, with pay-at-the pump fuel available 24 hours a day at both the Upper and Lower Service Stations.

The Old Faithful Visitor Education Center, the Geyser Grill and the Bear Den Gift Shop will open for the season on Friday, April 26. The Old Faithful Snow Lodge, Cabins and Restaurant, the Old Faithful Upper Store and the Lower Service Station convenience store all open for the season on Friday, May 3.

Visitors should be aware that spring in Yellowstone is very unpredictable and often brings cold temperatures, high winds and falling snow. Even cleared sections of roads can be narrow and covered with a layer of snow, ice and debris. Therefore, visitors should use extreme caution when driving as road clearing operations can be ongoing at any time throughout the park. In the case of extreme weather conditions, temporary road closures are also possible with little or no advance warning.

Park entrance fees will be waived April 22-26 as part of National Park Week. The week-long annual celebration is designed to encourage people to visit one of America's 401 national park system sites. A seven-day pass to Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks is normally $25 for a private, non-commercial vehicle.

The road from the park's North Entrance at Gardiner, Montana through Mammoth Hot Springs, and on to the Northeast Entrance and the communities of Cooke City and Silver Gate, Montana, is open all year.

Weather permitting, the road from Norris Junction through Canyon and Fishing Bridge to the park's East Entrance will open to travel on Friday, May 3 as originally scheduled. Travel through the South Entrance to Grant Village, West Thumb Junction and on to Fishing Bridge is set to open as originally scheduled on Friday, May 10, given favorable weather conditions. The road from West Thumb Junction to Old Faithful will open sometime after May 10.

Information on current conditions in the park is available online at http://www.nps.gov/yell/conditions.htm. Updated Yellowstone National Park road information is available 24 hours a day by calling 307-344-2117.

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