Yellowstone Reopens a Key Gateway After Devastating June Flooding
The historic monument is now open again to the public, and it’s been almost five months since the devastating flooding hit the area.
The iconic stone arches and towering cliffs of the national park, which is known for its geysers and hot springs, were swamped throughout June when heavy rains fell on the park over several days.
The National Park Service is working to restore the park to its usual state of beauty, but one of the primary goals is to ensure visitors aren’t deterred from enjoying the area.
“We will not tolerate vandalism or littering in the park,” says Jennifer Gifford, superintendent of the National Park Service. “We want to make sure visitors feel comfortable and come back.”
Wildflowers grow in the shadow of Yellowstone park in early June, after heavy rains during the first week of May. (Image: National Park Service via Flickr)
The flooding was unprecedented in scope, and the National Park Service has used a host of new technologies and equipment to help protect public safety as well as natural resources, including snow removal, water treatment plants and more.
The agency also installed eight new boardwalks and four new roads to aid the restoration and safety of people.
The Park Service also created a new online report for visitors documenting the damage and restoration.
Some of the most damaging damage has been to park assets, including historic sites and the geysers that make Yellowstone a must-see destination.
“This is one of the more unique natural resources in the country,” says Brian Johnson, a spokesman from the National Park Service. “It’s a unique place that people come to see the old geysers, get away from it all and still have a sense of place.”
At the geyser, a man and three women were arrested on Sept. 16 for breaking into and vandalizing the site.
Park visitors are now able to see the geysers in real time, and there’s even a new app for Android and Apple devices that lets visitors capture geyser photos to share across social networks.
This isn’t the first time the park has been hit by flooding, and the agency