National parks across the United States are gradually reopening after being closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As part of its phased strategy, Yellowstone National Park’s Montana entrance opened today.
The Montana entrance to the park includes the West Entrance, situated near West Yellowstone, the North Entrance, close to Gardiner, and the Northeast Entrance, near Cooke City.
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The reopening of these entrances corresponds with Montana Governor Steve Bullock’s easing of out-of-state travel constraints and will allow visitors to access Yellowstone from all five of its entries, the others of which opened in Wyoming on May 18.
Beginning today, in congruence with the parks’ three-tier reopening strategy, visitors now have access to Phase 1 services and facilities, including bathrooms, self-serve gas stations, trails and boardwalks, a limited number of stores, medical clinics, and approved tours.
They will also be able to access a select few Phase 2 services, such as food takeout as well as boating and fishing.
Visitors will only be able to access the park for day use for the time being with overnight accommodations becoming available in limited capacity later this month. However, campgrounds and visitor information centres will remain closed.
“Yellowstone National Park is an incredible place for Americans to enjoy the great outdoors, and the American people having access to their public lands is now more important than ever,” US Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt said in a statement on the National Parks Service website.
Yellowstone National Park is also amping up its transmission prevention efforts through a variety of initiatives, including installing protective barriers where necessary, encouraging all staff and visitors to wear face masks in highly frequented areas, limiting visitor access to specific locations, and increasing the amount of cleaning protocols in facilities. As well, signage has been implemented to outline physical distancing requirements.
The CDC has implemented specific guidelines for those wishing to visit parks and other recreational areas that visitors should familiarize themselves with prior to arrival.