Yellowstone to Begin Limited Reopening Monday, May 18
After being closed for nearly two months amid the coronavirus pandemic, Yellowstone National Park on Wednesday announced it will begin to reopen on a limited basis beginning Monday, May 18.
As officials implement the first of three phases included in their larger reopening plan, park visitors will be able to access roads, some stores, public restrooms, gas stations, trails and boardwalks, medical clinics, approved tours and entrance stations.
Monday will see the two park entrances in Wyoming -- the south and east gates -- reopen, though visitor travel will be limited to the lower loop of the park. That will allow visitors to access Lake, Canyon, Norris, Old Faithful, West Thumb and Grant Village.
While Wyoming has lifted out-of-state travel restrictions and asked for the two park entrances within its borders to reopen, Idaho and Montana still have restrictions in place, so entrances in those states will not reopen Monday. However, in a Wednesday announcement, park officials said they are working closely with state and local governments to open the remaining three entrances as soon as possible.
The second phase of reopening, expected to begin later this month or next month, will include campgrounds, backcountry permits, visitor cabins, additional stores, expanded tours, takeout food service, boating and fishing, as well as limited visitor centers.
The third phase, which will be implemented only as health conditions allow, will apply to hotels, full-service dining, commercial tour buses, ranger programs and additional facilities and services.
“The park’s goal is to open safely and conservatively, ensure we take the right actions to reduce risks to our employees and visitors, and help local economies begin to recover,” said Superintendent Cam Sholly. “I appreciate the cooperation we’ve had with our surrounding governors, counties, communities, and health officials in working through these challenging decisions. Our goal is to get the remaining entrances open as quickly and safely as possible.”