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Yellowstone opens 93 percent of roadways and 88 percent of backcountry

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Superintendent Cam Sholly speaks at a press conference on July 8. PHOTO BY JACOB W. FRANK / NPS

By Julia Barton DIGITAL PRODUCER

MAMMOTH HOT SPRINGS — Yellowstone National Park officials announced yesterday that Slough Creek, one of the park’s most visited backcountry areas, will reopen for limited overnight use July 13. Additionally, limited access to the North and Northeast entrances has been restored for bicyclists.

The Slough Creek backcountry area will limit overnight access to backcountry permit holders, stock outfitters and approved commercial guides and operators. Due to limited traffic capacity, other visitors are not permitted access to the 6-mile stretch of road between Tower Junction and the Slough Creek Campground. The park will offer additional day-use permits when conditions allow.

Currently, 12 percent of park trails and backcountry campsites remain closed due to flood damages, primarily in the northern portion of the park. Damage evaluations are ongoing and repairs are underway throughout the park. The park does not anticipate reopening some sections of the Lamar River Corridor and Miller Creek this season.

The park anticipates opening foot traffic from Tower Junction to the Yellowstone River to provide fishing access soon. Visitors should expect traffic on the Northeast Entrance Road as repairs continue. View the park’s full Backcountry Situation Report for more details.

The North and Northeast entrances remain closed to vehicular traffic while temporary repairs are completed, however, visitors may enter these gates on bicycle or by foot. Bicyclists can travel 1 mile to the Rescue Creek Trailhead from the North Entrance and 6 miles to the Barronette Meadows area from the Northeast Entrance. Limited hiking and fishing access is available from both entrances, but park officials advise visitors to use caution and understand the risks of traveling in these corridors.

Park officials are working with outfitters near the North and Northeast entrances to provide as much access as possible for business in open areas of the park. Reconnecting the park to Gardiner and Cooke City remains Yellowstone’s highest flood recovery priority.

Limited temporary access from the North Entrance to Mammoth Hot Springs is available via Old Gardiner Road, which is currently under construction to provide two-lane access before winter. Only approved vehicles are allowed in the area at this time; there is no pedestrian, bicyclist or horse traffic permitted. Visitors may access the park through the Northeast Entrance though an approved guided tour.

Yellowstone advises visitors to stay informed about what areas of the park are open by monitoring the park website. Up-to-date information on road conditions can be found here.

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