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Yellowstone, Grand Teton parks to reopen May 18

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YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK – On Monday, May 18, Yellowstone National Park’s east and south gates will open to tourists for the first time in months, following both seasonal and Covid-19 shutdowns.

However, while both of Wyoming’s entrances will be available to public access, all three Montana gates, including that at West Yellowstone, will remain closed.

Similarly, Grand Teton National Park will open on Monday, May 18.

Yellowstone Superintendent Cam Sholly admits the plan is neither perfect, nor agreeable to all with interests in the park’s reopening.

“What I’m going to announce is out-of-the-box, it’s different, it’s not exactly going to be incredibly popular with some of you,” Sholly said in a phone call with regional business leaders Wednesday, reports the Jackson Hole News & Guide.

Following Wyoming’s May 8 lifting of out-of-state travel restrictions, the state requested their entrances be open. Meanwhile, Montana continues to enforce a mandatory 14-day quarantine. Park and Treasure State officials are in conversations on next steps for their gates.

The reopening of Yellowstone will provide Wyoming with “useful experience as we look ahead to opening other areas of the park, provide a boost to Wyoming’s tourism industry, and help get America’s economy up and going again,” Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon said in a statement.

Travel around the park will be limited to the lower loop, which includes Lake, Canyon, Norris, Old Faithful, West Thumb and Grant Village, and park officials will encourage the use of masks and facial coverings. Access to certain sites will be metered, facility cleanings will become more frequent and barriers have been installed to provide protection where needed.

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