(The Center Square) – Yellowstone National Park is getting $50 million in emergency funds from the National Park Service (NPS) to “kick-start” efforts to fix damage and reopen parts of the park that were devastated by historic flooding last week.
Over 10,000 visitors were evacuated last week from the park, which has been closed since last Monday. The park’s southern loop will reopen on Wednesday with an “interim” visitor entry system to limit traffic.
About 80% of the park is expected to reopen within two weeks once cleanup repairs to the northern loop are completed, NPS Director Chuck Sams and Yellowstone National Park Superintendent Cam Sholly said Monday in a statement.
“The initial $50 million will be used to restore temporary access to Gardiner and Cooke City, Montana and other additional sites,” the NPS said. “Plans are being finalized for improving the Old Gardiner Road for temporary access between Yellowstone and Gardiner, Montana.”
As previously reported, aerial footage posted on social media by the NPS showed the Gardner River, near the park’s northern entrance and the town of Gardiner, Mont., eroding a road parallelling the river.
President Joe Biden approved a disaster declaration for the state of Montana on Thursday, which shores up federal funding for emergency work and repairs in Carbon, Park, and Stillwater counties.
Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte said the declaration will “further help our communities respond to the severe flooding, recover, and rebuild.”
Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon also signed an emergency declaration last Thursday.