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Yellowstone

A bison grazes along a frozen riverbed in the Lamar Valley in Yellowstone National Park.

By dipping into its recreation fee revenue, Yellowstone National Park will begin providing basic services by Sunday, according to a Park Service news release.

Basic services have been halted since the federal government shutdown began Dec. 22.

Under the plan the park will fund staff to collect trash and clean bathrooms; staff entrance stations (except for the Northeast Entrance at Cooke City) and the Madison Warming Hut to provide safety information but not to collect fees; and remove snow at Canyon overlooks.

Visitor centers will remain closed.

Despite the shutdown, the road from the park’s North Entrance at Gardiner through Mammoth Hot Springs to the Northeast Entrance at Cooke City has been open to motorists. Visitors can access all the commercial services along this route.

Visitors can also access commercial services in the interior of the park via oversnow travel, such as at Old Faithful.

During the shutdown, volunteers and concessioners — including Xanterra Travel Collection which operates the Snow Lodge at Old Faithful — have made donations to enable NPS staff to groom roads and allow oversnow travel to continue.

Although previously permitted non-commercially guided snowmobile trips are allowed, no new permits are being issued.

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Park staff are providing emergency services and law enforcement, so all park regulations — including those regarding oversnow travel — are in effect.

The recreation fee fund the park will tap typically pays for things like resource stewardship, visitor facility improvements, education, and visitor use management. The fees are also used to fund projects that address deferred maintenance needs, provide new visitor programs and services, protect resources, improve and rehabilitate facilities for visitors.

The Park Service warned that if conditions become unsafe at any time, roads and/or developed areas in the park may be closed. 

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