With increased interest in the delayed opening of some roads in Yellowstone National Park because of federal budget cuts this spring, the National Park Service is posting the progress of its plow crews online.
Updated information will be posted to the park website every Tuesday through Friday morning at www.nps.gov/yell/planyourvisit/plowing.htm.
The plows have already reached Madison Junction from West Yellowstone and are now working their way toward Old Faithful and Mammoth Hot Springs.
Altogether, the plows have to clear nearly 200 miles of primary road, almost 125 miles of secondary roads and 125 acres of parking lots.
The section of US-212 between the park’s Northeast Entrance through Cooke City and Silver Gate to the intersection with WY-296, the Chief Joseph Scenic Highway, will open on May 24, in time for the Memorial Day holiday weekend. The section of the Beartooth Highway between the junction of US-212/WY-296 and the community of Red Lodge is scheduled to open on June 14 — two weeks later than usual.
The roads from West Yellowstone and Mammoth Hot Springs to Old Faithful will open to automobile travel at 8 a.m. on April 26, weather permitting. The road from Norris Junction east to Canyon Village and then south to Fishing Bridge Junction is now set to open to travel on May 3.
Fundraising by the communities of Cody and Jackson, Wyo., will allow crews and equipment from the Wyoming Department of Transportation to start road clearing from the park’s East and South Entrances toward the park’s interior in early April.
Weather permitting, this plowing will allow the East Entrance road over Sylvan Pass to Fishing Bridge to open to travel on May 3, as originally scheduled. Road clearing by WYDOT crews will also allow travel through the South Entrance to Grant Village, West Thumb Junction and on to Fishing Bridge to begin as originally scheduled on May 10.
The road from the park’s North Entrance at Gardiner through Mammoth Hot Springs on to the Northeast Entrance and the communities of Cooke City and Silver Gate is open all year.
Photos of this year’s NPS plowing efforts will be posted when available to the park’s Flickr site at www.flickr.com/photos/yellowstonenps. Video of plowing progress by NPS crews will be posted when available to the park’s YouTube Channel at www.youtube.com/user/YellowstoneNPS. Every Friday, a summary of the plowing efforts of NPS road crews will be posted to the official park Facebook page: www.facebook.com/YellowstoneNPS.