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Yellowstone Supt. Imagines A Phased And Flexible Reopening. Eventually.

An entrance to Yellowstone National Park.
An entrance to Yellowstone National Park.

Most national parks around the Mountain West remain closed to slow the spread of the coronavirus. And it remains unclear when or if parks will reopen in the coming months. 

When the time comes, Yellowstone National Park Superintendent Cam Sholly said parks – not just Yellowstone – will likely open in phases.

"Obviously this isn't going to be a light switch," Sholly said. "It's also got to be a plan that conforms to whatever the current local, state, and federal guidances at a given time – one that can accelerate if conditions are good, and contract if things are worse." 

In another wrinkle, Sholly said parks have had to delay hiring seasonal employees, including those that rely on shared housing. 

"We can only hire, initially, the number of employees that can, in essence, not be in shared housing," he said.

Sholly said one potential solution to the already limited amount of lodging is using accommodations that would usually be for guests, like hotels, to house employees instead.

Have a question about this story? Contact the reporter, Maggie Mullen, at mmullen5@uwyo.edu.

This story was produced by the Mountain West News Bureau, a collaboration between Wyoming Public Media, Boise State Public Radio in Idaho, KUNR in Nevada, the O'Connor Center for the Rocky Mountain West in Montana, KUNC in Colorado, KUNM in New Mexico, with support from affiliate stations across the region. Funding for the Mountain West News Bureau is provided in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

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