Word came today from Al Nash with the Yellowstone Public Affairs Office that crews are working to restore access between the northeast section of the Yellowstone and the rest of the park, after the only open route was closed Saturday by a rock slide.
Rocks and debris fell and covered a section of the road between Mammoth Hot Springs and Tower Junction sometime early Saturday.
The slide occurred about eight miles east of Mammoth Hot Springs, just east of the entrance to Blacktail Plateau Drive.
While enough debris has been cleared from the road to allow for emergency travel if necessary; park managers remain concerned about several car-sized boulders perched atop unstable material at the base of the slope immediately adjacent to the roadway.
The park is planning on additional investigation by geo-technical consultants, and considering work to be performed by a contractor which may be needed to safely reopen the road to travel. This section of road will remain closed for several days.
The temporary closure has cut off the scenic Lamar Valley and the park's Northeast Entrance from most of the rest of Yellowstone National Park. Visitors can still travel to and from the area by taking US-212 to US-296 to WY-120, the route linking the communities of Cooke City, Montana, and Cody, Wyoming.
Meanwhile, the park is mobilizing plows and personnel to open another route between the Lamar Valley and the rest of the park. Crews and equipment are being pulled off spring clearing of the Beartooth Highway. Instead, they’ll be working overtime to clear the road from Tower Junction over Dunraven Pass to Canyon Village. Weather and avalanche conditions on the pass permitting, this road could open to travel by next weekend.
Park crews are also working to clear and repair the Blacktail Plateau Drive, a one-lane gravel seasonal scenic route which parallels the section of road closed by Saturday’s rock slide. While not suitable for heavy visitor traffic, if opened it would allow for safer emergency travel and limited administrative travel to resupply the Yellowstone General Store at Tower Falls, and support efforts to open Roosevelt Lodge on schedule on Friday, June 10th.
Yellowstone National Park remains under a Winter Weather Advisory until Monday morning, with falling and accumulating snow reported Sunday across most of the park. Visitors need to be prepared for temporary road closures due to snow and ice.
The North, West, and South entrances to Yellowstone are open, subject to temporary closures due to weather. Unstable snow conditions and the threat of snow slides continue to limit travel on the East Entrance road through Sylvan Pass to between the hours of 8:00 p.m. and 10:00 a.m.
The section of US-212 across Beartooth Pass, which links the Park's Northeast Entrance with the community of Red Lodge, MT has yet to open for the season.
Information on park road conditions is available 24-hours-a-day by calling the park's road information hotline at 307-344-2117.
You can also visit their website at: http://www.nps.gov/yell