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Plans for a permanent road between Gardiner and Mammoth presented by Yellowstone National Park



Yellowstone National Park, Montana – At the north entrance to the park, Yellowstone National Park is seeking public opinion regarding the location of a permanent road that would connect Gardiner and Mammoth.

Tuesday, Yellowstone Superintendent Cam Sholly announced three suggestions for the route at a Webinar: “The north entrance is the second busiest entrance in the park. Regularly in the summer, it can see traffic counts of 3,000 cars per day.”

Big portions of the road were destroyed in June 2022 by a 500-year flood. A makeshift road was constructed to reunite the two settlements. The park is currently considering constructing a permanent road, which will require consideration of budget, environmental impact, the extent to which it can endure future calamities like that major flood, and the ease of use for park visitors.

According to Sholly’s presentation, all three ideas contained precautions against potential flooding. Even if this is a once-in-a-500-year event, he pointed out that ignoring it would be “the worst thing we could do because we all know that there’s a very good likelihood that something like that will occur sooner than 500 years.”

One of three routes will be selected by the park. The first involves reducing some of the steeper areas and lengthening and straightening the existing detour on the Old Gardiner Road.

The so-called Canyon Alignment comes next. That would fortify and replace the Canyon road, which the water mostly washed out.

The Center Alignment is the name of the third. That would use the Canyon Road’s last sections before veering off to higher land and avoiding the canyon’s darkest section.

“We’ll launch in and develop an environmental assessment, select a preferred alternative, hopefully sometime this summer,” said Sholly.

A final decision on the idea is anticipated in early 2025, and public comments will be gathered on it next fall. While being careful not to support a particular plan, Sholly did note that the current temporary road might still be used if the Center Alignment or the Canyon Route are selected.

“You can’t have two roads at every entrance but in this particular case, it may not be the worst idea,” he said. “If something were to happen downstream, we’d have a backup road. We were very fortunate to have the Old Gardiner Road available to us. If we didn’t have that we’d probably have been looking at multiple years of Gardiner being cut off from the park.”

According to Sholly, the Rescue Creek bridge will be reconstructed, and parking and access will be provided for the bridge via any alternate route. The old swimming area is gone, but access to the Boiling River will remain. Once the river channel shifted, the well-liked attraction was left high and dry.

On the Yellowstone National Park website, you can view additional information about the three suggestions and leave a remark.

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