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CODY, Wyo. — Road crews with Yellowstone National Park will begin plowing their way toward Sylvan Pass this week in a push to open the East Gate by May 6.

Al Nash, spokesman for Yellowstone Park, said crews are scheduled to begin plowing the 27-mile stretch of road from the Fishing Bridge to the East Gate this week.

With snow depths starting at 4 feet and rising, the work is expected to take most of the month.

“We did conduct an avalanche mitigation mission last week using a helicopter at Sylvan Pass,” Nash said Monday. “The work was done in preparation for this spring plowing effort we’re getting ready to start.”

Nash said plowing efforts are currently running behind schedule across the park. Yellowstone experienced a heavy snowfall this winter.

Despite the delays, however, Nash said the park should open on schedule in early May.

“We’ll take advantage of the lower elevations first,” Nash said. “We’ll start from Mammoth Hot Springs and move down the west side. It’s the lowest elevation and the lightest snowpack.”

Higher elevations in the park’s interior will take longer to plow, including Craig Pass east of Old Faithful; the south entrance through Lewis Canyon; and Sylvan Pass.

“The last road we’ll open in the interior is Dunraven Pass from Canyon to Tower,” Nash said. “We’re typically completing work on Dunraven Pass while we’re also working to open the Beartooth Highway.”

Over the next month, crews will plow more than 300 miles of road inside the park, which covers an area as large as Rhode Island and Delaware combined.

Crews will also plow 49 miles of the Bearthooth Pass outside the park.

“It’s a pretty significant area we have to get open for the public,” Nash said.

Contact Martin Kidston at mkidston@billingsgazette.com or 307-527-7250.

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