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Yellowstone plow crews encounter deep snow at Sylvan

Yellowstone plow crews encounter deep snow at Sylvan

  • Updated

CODY, Wyo. -- Crews in Yellowstone National Park continued plowing Sylvan Pass on Tuesday, where they encountered an average snow depth of 22 feet with drifts up to 30 feet.

Park spokesman Al Nash said Yellowstone's road crews haven't seen conditions like that inside the park in at least 13 years.

"It's always a daunting task to clear the roads to open in the spring," Nash said. "We certainly find ourselves with a greater challenge this year than we have in recent springs."

Despite the heavy snow accumulation, Nash said, the National Park Service still planned to open the East Gate on May 6, followed by the South Gate on May 13.

To accomplish that, he said, the park has increased work hours for plowing crews to 12-hour days, five days a week -- up from 10-hour days, four days a week.

"We find ourselves in a position of having to increase hours and days that our crews are working in order to get these main roads cleared, so the South and East entrances can open on schedule," Nash said.

"We certainly need the moisture. But as is the case with so many things in Yellowstone, there's always an upside and a downside."

Just nine days ago, the East Gate sat buried under more than 54 inches of snow. Up to eight inches of new snowfall had been recorded near Sylvan Pass in just the past few days.

"Even with the East Gate open, the recreational opportunities still may be a little limited," Nash said, referring to snow accumulation.

The North and West entrances to the park opened to vehicles on April 15.

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