How much did Yellowstone National Park flooding impact visitor numbers?

An entrance to Yellowstone National Park sits closed due to the historic floodwaters on June 15, in Gardiner, Mont. Visits to the park were down significantly in June and for the year.

An entrance to Yellowstone National Park sits closed due to the historic floodwaters on June 15, in Gardiner, Mont. Visits to the park were down significantly in June and for the year. (David Goldman, Associated Press)



Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes

YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK — After heavy flooding washed out roads, caused rockslides and damaged homes last month, Yellowstone National Park saw a 43% decrease in recreational visits compared to June 2021.

Last month, the park hosted 536,601 visitors. In June 2021, there were 938,845 recreational visits to the park.

June 2021 was the most-visited June on record, according to a news release from the park.

Park visitation for the year is down 20% with more than 1.2 million visitors so far in 2022 compared to more than 1.5 million at this time last year.

Extreme flooding caused the park to close all entrances on June 13 with the park reopening the southern loop on June 22. The rest of the park reopened on July 2 in time for the Fourth of July weekend.

Repairs could cost up to $1 billion and it could take years to "rebuild in an environmentally sensitive landscape where construction season only runs from the spring thaw until the first snowfall," according to the Associated Press.

While almost all of the park is now open, the North and Northeast entrances — where a majority of flood damage occurred — remain closed to vehicle traffic as road repairs continue. Visitors can still access those entrances by foot or bike, or use the South, East or West entrances to access the northern loop.

This year marks the 150th anniversary of Yellowstone National Park, which became the first national park in 1872 after President Ulysses S. Grant signed the Yellowstone National Park Protection Act.

Those traveling to Yellowstone should check the park's website for updates on park conditions before they go.

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Carlene Coombs

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