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Yellowstone superintendent: North Entrance Road may not recover from floods

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Construction on the Old Gardiner Road near Yellowstone's North Entrance. PHOTO BY JACOB W. FRANK / NPS

Repairs could take five years, $1B


MAMMOTH HOT SPRINGS, Wyo. – Following historic flooding in June, Yellowstone National Park’s U.S. Highway 89—nearly 150-years-old—could require up to five years and $1 billion to repair, according to reporting from CBS News. Yellowstone Superintendent Cam Sholly isn’t sure it’s worth it.

U.S. 89, providing access to the park from the North Entrance in Gardiner, is one of four sections of road severely damaged by flooding, raising concerns about future erosion. The road runs through a canyon, which may face further erosion danger.

“I’d like to see this canyon restored,” Sholly told CBS News. “Ultimately, you’ve got to be cognizant of what the future threats could be.”

According to the National Park Service, most of its parks are experiencing difficulties related to climate change, including impacts from wildfires and rising sea levels.

Yellowstone is working to reopen areas of the park where possible, but gateway communities have still seen drastically diminished business due to road closures. The Old Gardiner Road, previously a narrow bicycle trail, is being converted to a two-lane road to provide access to the park from Gardiner to visitors by November. According to rangers, the road could possibly replace U.S. 89.

“Look, there’s no question climate change is occurring,” Sholly told CBS News. “We’ve got a long way to go to figure out what steps are necessary to ensure that we’re adapting properly.”

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