June 16, 2022 |

Governor Mark Gordon announced yesterday that he will issue an emergency declaration in response to historic flooding in Yellowstone National Park and surrounding areas.

Colossal flows as the Yellowstone River raged out of its banks wiped out the north entrance road from Gardiner to Mammoth Hot Springs, Yellowstone National Park’s administrative headquarters. At Gardiner, the Yellowstone crested at 14 feet, 2.5 feet higher than the previous record set in 1918.

Visitors to the park, like Mack Miller of Saratoga, tell of waking up Sunday morning at their campground surrounded by water. Miller, his wife and seven-year-old son along with thousands of others made a rushed escape for the south entrance in their vehicles as the river washed over parts of the road. Making the route out even more dangerous were buffalo who themselves were escaping the lowlands along the river by rushing in droves across the entrance road for higher ground.

The situation remains tenuous. Yellowstone National Park officials say some entrances could reopen “as early as this weekend” with reservations needed. Northern Yellowstone will remain closed for the season.

In a news release Wednesday, Governor Gordon said he has been communicating with Yellowstone National Park Superintendent Cam Sholly, Montana Governor Greg Gianforte and state agency heads to ensure a coordinated response to the changing situation.

The Wyoming Department of Transportation is temporarily maintaining a section of US Highway 212 between Cooke City, Montana and the intersection of Wyoming Highway due to heavy spring snowfall. This will allow residents, first responders and evacuees have access to supplies, lodging, healthcare and other essential services during the current state of emergency. State highway crews have also worked to clear bridges and evaluate risks to highway infrastructure.

The Wyoming Office of Homeland Security is working with its counterparts in Montana and in the National Park Service to assess damage and provide assistance to ensure public safety.

Flood waters around the park crested late Monday night. Flood warnings or watches remain in effect for several counties downstream on the Yellowstone river and its tributaries.

Pictured above: Screenshot of aerial footage of the Yellowstone River, courtesy NPS.

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