Yellowstone Park's landscape forever changed, uncertainty for gateway cities looms

A raging Gardner River gouged large chunks from the narrow two-lane road that provides tourists and workers access to Yellowstone National Park via its bustling North Entrance on Monday, only two weeks before the summer tourism season would kick into its usual frenetic high gear.

The same day, officials closed all park entrances and hustled thousands of visitors out of Yellowstone.

Now instead of worrying about traffic jams of loaded down RVs and trailer-towing SUVS backing up through the border community of Gardiner, residents and business owners are wondering if anyone will arrive. Without access to Yellowstone, the town becomes a literal dead end this week.

“This is going to be pretty tough for Gardiner businesses to recover from,” said Bill Berg, a Park County commissioner and Gardiner resident. “Even though the park won’t open on the north end, folks in Gardiner would still like to see you come and enjoy what you can.”

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Employee housing is swept down the Yellowstone River during a massive flood that hit the park earlier in June. 

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