Yellowstone National Park will open its Montana entrances on Monday, June 1 at 10 a.m. The Montana entrances include West Entrance (near West Yellowstone), North Entrance (near Gardiner), and Northeast Entrance (near Cooke City). The opening of Montana’s entrances coincides with the Governor’s lifting of out-of-state travel restrictions and will provide visitor access to all five entrances of Yellowstone National Park (the Wyoming entrances opened on May 18).
“I appreciate the partnership with Governor Bullock, his team, and our surrounding counties and communities. We will continue working closely together as we progress through this reopening sequence.”
– Superintendent Cam Sholly
The entire Grand Loop Road will be accessible for day use, excluding the segment between Canyon and Tower, which is closed for road construction (see map below).
On June 1, in line with the park’s three-phased reopening plan, visitors will be able to access Phase 1 services/facilities (including restrooms, self-service gas stations, trails/boardwalks, limited stores, entrance stations, medical clinics, approved tours) and a few services/facilities as outlined in Phase 2 (including takeout food service, boating, and fishing). The park will remain day-use only. Limited overnight accommodations will begin reopening later in June. Campgrounds, visitor centers, and other facilities are still closed until health conditions allow for reopening.
“Yellowstone National Park is an incredible place for Americans to enjoy the great outdoors, and the American people having access to their public lands is now more important than ever. The park entrances in Wyoming opened about two weeks ago, so it’s great that we’ve been able to work with the Governor of Montana to safely restore access to the remaining entrances.”
– U.S. Secretary of the Interior David L. Bernhardt
Increasing Mitigation Efforts
The park has implemented significant mitigation efforts including providing additional protective barriers where needed, encouraging the use of masks or facial coverings in high-density areas, metering visitor access in certain locations, increasing cleaning frequency of facilities, adding signage on boardwalks and other public spaces, and messaging to visitors through a variety of methods. Substantial investments have been made in mitigation measures by the park’s business partners including Xanterra, Delaware North, Yellowstone Park Service Stations, Medcor, and Yellowstone Forever. To date, the park has also approved 126 commercial use authorizations (CUAs) for local businesses to operate inside the park after reviewing individual COVID-19 mitigation plans submitted by each company.
Yellowstone is partnering with surrounding states, counties, and businesses (like Medcor, the company that runs the in-park clinics) to increase testing capacity. In addition to building capacity to test people with COVID-19 symptoms, the park has agreed to participate in a COVID-19 surveillance testing pilot project. Park County, Montana health officials have begun testing frontline employees and partners with 50 tests this week (viral, not antibody tests). Surveillance testing helps to identify COVID-19 transmission early and allows mitigation actions to be taken before a widespread outbreak occurs.
Visitors should come prepared and follow all CDC and local health guidance by practicing good hygiene and social distancing. Face coverings are recommended where social distancing is not possible. People who are sick should stay home and not visit the park. The CDC has provided specific guidance on visiting parks and recreational facilities. The National Park Service encourages visitors to #RecreateResponsibly. Photos and posters showing responsible recreation and mitigation measures are available on the park’s Flickr page.
Previously-scheduled road construction projects will continue this summer. Normal annual bear management area closures are in effect. Winter conditions are still possible at this time of year. The park will provide details and updates for operations as they change on www.nps.gov/yell and on the park’s social media channels. Updates about NPS operations will be posted on www.nps.gov/coronavirus.
Yellowstone National Park is an American national park located in the western United States, with parts in Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho. It was established by the U.S. Congress and signed into law by President Ulysses S. Grant on March 1, 1872. Yellowstone was the first national park in the U.S. and is also widely held to be the first national park in the world. The park is known for its wildlife and its many geothermal features, especially Old Faithful geyser, one of its most popular. While it represents many types of biomes, the subalpine forest is the most abundant. It is part of the South Central Rockies forests ecoregion.