Yellowstone celebrates completion of new North Entrance road on Saturday

Brett French

Yellowstone Superintendent Cam Sholly gives a tour of the Old Gardiner Road. At a ceremony afterward he thanks everyone, as do other officials, for the completion of the road at the park’s North Entrance.

Brett French

GARDINER – This wasn’t the 150th anniversary Yellowstone National Park had planned, but it will certainly go down in history.

The unprecedented June flooding that temporarily shut down the whole park, and kept two entrances gated the entire summer season, made the anniversary unlike any other year in terms of high-profile damage to roads and the speedy and expensive repairs to get new routes opened.

Politicians and agency officials gathered at the North Entrance on Saturday to dedicate the rebuilt Old Gardiner Road into Yellowstone, an 1800s stagecoach route that was heavily reconstructed and paved to once again provide public access.

The road is the only one open into Yellowstone in the winter, providing access to Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel and further on to the Lamar Valley and the towns of Cooke City and Silver Gate. It’s also the second-busiest entrance to the park, carrying about 2,000 to 3,000 visitors each day during the peak of summer.

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