Gordon Provides Update on Yellowstone Flooding
Governor Mark Gordon plans to issue an emergency declaration in response to the historic flooding in the Yellowstone National Park and surrounding areas, according to a press release.
The emergency declaration, according to the release, will allow the state to seek federal funding assistance for necessary road repairs, though it is currently unclear when the declaration will be issued or what specifically it will contain.
Gordon has been communicating with Yellowstone National Park Superintendent Cam Sholly, Montana Governor Greg Gianforte, and state agency heads.
Gianforte is currently out of the country on a "long-scheduled personal trip with the first lady."
Lieutenant Governor Kristen Juras is currently Montana's acting governor.
Michael Pearlman, communications director for the governor's office, said that Gordon spoke with Gianforte by phone Wednesday morning and that he is unsure when the emergency declaration will be finalized.
Gordon said in the release:
"This has been extraordinarily hard on a lot of people and we are doing all we can to assist," Gordon said. "Thankfully, visitors have been evacuated and we can go about helping local communities, businesses, and others address the historic impacts of this flood."
The Wyoming Department of Transportation (WYDOT) is temporarily maintaining a section of US Highway 212 between Cooke City, Montana, and the intersection of Wyoming Highway 296 in Northwest Wyoming due to heavy spring snowfall.
State highway crews have also worked to clear bridges and evaluate risks to highway infrastructure.
WYDOT Director Luke Reiner said, "WYDOT’s top priority is safety, and we want to make sure there is a clear and safe route in and out of the affected area."
The impact on Wyoming bridges and roads in the Greater Yellowstone area has currently been minimal, however, WYDOT continues to monitor the situation.
The Wyoming Department of Tourism and Wyoming State Parks and Cultural Resources has provided resources to impacted visitors, including expanding the state park's capacity and also highlighting other recreational opportunities for visitors impacted by the park’s closure.
"We want to assure the public that we are doing all we can with our partners to open the southern and eastern entrances to the park as quickly as possible," Gordon said. "Meanwhile there are plentiful opportunities for visitors to enjoy all the wonders of Wyoming, which remains open for business."
The Wyoming Office of Homeland Security is working with its counterparts in Montana and in the National Park Service to assess the damage.