Extremely hazardous conditions including heavy rain, flooding and rockfalls have caused Yellowstone National Park to close for the first time in 34 years, park officials said.
All five entrances to the park, which spans parts of Wyoming, Montana and Idaho, will remain closed to visitors until at least Wednesday as park officials inspect damage to roads, bridges and other facilities. The closure includes those who have made lodging or camping reservations within the park.
No injuries or deaths have been reported as a result of the hazardous conditions.
“Due to record flood events at the park and more rainfall forecast, we have made the decision to close Yellowstone to all inbound visitors,” park director Cam Sholly said in a statement.
The closure comes as the summer tourism season begins and as Yellowstone prepares to celebrate its 150th anniversary year. It’s also the first time since a series of devastating wildfires in 1988 that the park is closed for the summer.
Sholly said the first priority is evacuating the northern portion of the park, where most of the road and bridge failures and mudslides have occurred.
The southern loop was also evacuated Monday as officials believe more rain could come and continue to flood the area.
Several areas of the park are experiencing power outages, and preliminary reports also indicated that numerous roads in the park were either washed away or covered with rocks and mud.
“We will not know when the park will reopen until the flood waters subside and we can assess the damage throughout the park. It is likely that the northern loop will be closed for a significant period of time,” Sholly said.
The National Park Service said those planning to visit Yellowstone in the coming weeks should keep a close eye on the status of road conditions, as many roads could be closed for extended periods.
Established in 1872 as the world’s first national park, Yellow attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors each year and is known for its geysers, wildlife and views.
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https://metro.co.uk/2022/06/14/yellowstone-floods-close-national-park-for-first-time-in-34-years-16829055/ Yellowstone floods close national park for first time in 34 years