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Yellowstone’s northern loop opens on Saturday, opening 93 percent of the park

Jacob W. Frank
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Yellowstone National Park’s northern loop reopens on Saturday, July 2. The park initially said it may not open at all this season due to major destruction to roads and bridges from a historic flood. The park is also dropping its alternating license plate entry system that it put in mid-June. This means that 93 percent of the park will be open to the public.

Tina Hoebelheinrich, Cody Country Chamber of Commerce’s president, said the two weeks when just the southern loop was open wasn’t looking good for local businesses.

“Businesses were down. “ said Hoebelheinrich. “They were running significantly down from last year, and off pace of 2019 even, which is kind of our baseline rather than [during] COVID.”

But now most of the park is open and anyone can enter regardless of license plate numbers. She said hopefully this means more people will come through.

“I know that that news yesterday came at a really, really great time,” she said. “I had several business owners tell me that this announcement really helps them sleep better. So we are very optimistic.”

However, the northern and northeast gates in Montana are still closed to vehicular traffic. They’re open for people to walk through in order to fish or hike. Park officials are considering opening them to bikes. Most of Yellowstone's southern backcountry opened to overnight use on Friday but much of the northern backcountry is closed. The park will continue to open things up in the northern loop as repairs are finished. They say reopening those gates are their highest priority as the gateway communities are feeling the impact.

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