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Winter season received mixed reactions from Gardiner companies



Yellowstone National Park, Montana – Last June’s flooding at the North Entrance to Yellowstone National Park destroyed the summer season for many Gardiner businesses. As a result, there was optimism for a significant recovery this winter.

The owner of In Our Nature Guide Service Cara McGary failed to see it. It surely doesn’t compare to other winters, she remarked.

The same thing is said about MTN by numerous guiding businesses. As the access to the park was reestablished at the end of October, they had hoped for a significant winter influx, but this never really materialized.

“In town, I would say it didn’t feel very busy. I think a lot of that had to do with the Mammoth Hotel closure,” said Terese Petcoff, the Gardiner Chamber of Commerce Executive Director.

This season’s winter has been fantastic for observing wildlife in the Park. Deep snow and fewer people are present. That’s excellent for people who want to avoid crowds, but it’s not so great for companies who rely on the masses.

“The economic aspects are not great and I especially worry about my employees and hope that they have enough to keep themselves fed and pay utilities and rent and that sort of thing,” said McGary.

Though not everyone was harmed.

“Our winter has really turned out really lovely,” said Wade Launch, proprietor of the Gardiner Town Station Conoco.

The manager of the Absaroka hotel across the street claimed that this winter was a great time for his establishment because guests who were unable to book rooms at the Mammoth Hotel, which is still closed, stayed there instead. Now, anticipation for the summer is great.

Petcoff said, “I think it’ll be really good. I think that we’ll be adequately staffed and will be able to handle the capacity that we’re expecting.”

“I think it’s going to be a big summer because there were a lot of people last year due to the floods, canceled their trip entirely, said Lisa Joslyn, the owner of Sky’s the Limit Guiding.

Launch added, “I am very optimistic about this summer. Easter will be the next tell-tale, for me anyway, on how the summer will go.”

Guide McGary, who is hanging on through the lean winter, sees an upside to almost everything. She said, “You know, you either get time or money and rarely both. So, we’re getting some nice time to collect our thoughts, prepare for the summer, reevaluate and reassess how we do things and hopefully come back even better in this next year.”

McGary revealed to us that she visited friends in Australia for some of the extra time. She believes it’s time to return to work now though.

A significant increase in international tourists is anticipated this summer, according to business owners in Gardiner and West Yellowstone, after that sector of the economy largely dried up during the pandemic.