The other day, as I was advertising an opportunity for folks to join me in August for a workshop in Yellowstone Park, a tragic story was unfolding there unlike anything we’ve really seen in these parts for some time. I’m sure most people who read this newsletter have seen many of the images and videos surging across the internet. Regardless, per the YNP Instagram page, please note the following:
Northern portion of Yellowstone likely to remain closed for a substantial length of time due to severely damaged, impacted infrastructure; Visitors traveling to park in coming weeks must stay informed about current situation, road and weather conditions.
- Aerial assessments conducted by Yellowstone June 13 show major damage to multiple sections of road between the North Entrance, Mammoth Hot Springs, Lamar Valley and Cooke City, Montana.
- Many sections of road in these areas are completely gone and will require substantial time and effort to reconstruct.
- The NPS will make every effort to repair these roads as soon as possible; however, it is probable that road sections in northern Yellowstone will not reopen this season due to the time required for repairs.
This is a photo of the road in from Gardiner, MT, to access the northern portion of the park, swiped from the Instagram page of the folks who sponsor the kinds of workshops I am fortunate to participate in, Yellowstone Forever.
That’s just one section of many along that route. I’m sure there are more in the vicinity of the Lamar Valley too, which is where my workshop was to be held. The YF folks report:
On Monday morning, rain combined with rapidly melting snowpack resulted in a record flood event across the region. Portions of roads inside and outside of the park have been swept away, vital bridges were damaged or destroyed, and at least one building housing National Park Service staff in our hometown of Gardiner has been lost.
Currently, many Yellowstone Forever staff members, neighbors, and National Park Service colleagues are isolated in Gardiner, Mammoth, Cooke City, and throughout the interior of the park. Our team at the Lamar Buffalo Ranch is sheltering-in-place. We are mobilizing quickly alongside Yellowstone National Park, local communities, and a statewide network to ensure our team and neighbors have what they need to stay safe.
We'll be blunt, there is no short-term fix to much of the destruction that has occurred over the last few days. As of now, Yellowstone National Park is closed entirely to incoming visitors. We expect to see extended closures in some areas. We fully support the National Park Service’s decision to close the park temporarily as they work to evacuate visitors and residents during this emergency situation. We have likewise canceled all Institute programs in the park for the next two weeks. If you have a program booked later in the summer, we will be in touch as soon as we have further information.
The photos and videos of this destruction are heartbreaking. In addition to the resource destruction in the park, many of our colleagues, neighbors, and friends in Gardiner and beyond will suffer due to loss of property and income as some closures will likely continue.
Besides Yellowstone Park, many other communities along the Yellowstone River’s path are in dire straits. I bring all this to you in hopes that some of you may contribute to relief efforts rallying to the cause. Here are some options. Just click the link if you are interested.
Southwest Montana Flood Relief Fund:
Due to evacuations from homes, flooding, power outages, and water contamination, financial donations are expected for immediate needs of personal care, food replacement, supplemental income, vehicle damage/loss, home repairs, and other flood response needs yet to be identified in Park County, Madison County, and other areas of Southwest Montana impacted by flooding.
Funds collected by Greater Gallatin United Way and Park County Community Foundation will be distributed to individuals and agencies serving those affected by the flooding in Southwest Montana. GGUW will retain a 5% administrative fee.
Carbon County Disaster Relief Fund:
Donating to the Carbon County Disaster Relief Fund, will help support emergency management and disaster relief in Carbon County.
Our extended community has been deeply impacted as this is the worst natural disaster we have collectively endured. With many losing homes, bridges out, and downtown so impacted, our community economics on both a household and community level is also threatened.
But this same community is also resilient. Half the town showed up the first night to be a part of the sandbag brigade that saved portions of main street and prevented further breach into additional neighborhoods. Such community extends beyond time and space and often includes the grace and kindness of those not immediately impacted. Whether you experienced this devastating loss or just share a love for this sacred place, thank you for being a part of the vital web that is our shared humanity.
Stafford Animal Shelter in Livingston had to be evacuated. They could use some help.
To support the park as it recovers from devastating floods, we’ve re-opened the Yellowstone Resiliency Fund to provide immediate and flexible financial support for the most pressing needs in our park community. Your support will have powerful and timely impacts in Yellowstone as we navigate these recent events. Yellowstone needs your support.
Anyone who cares to, please share other options in the comments!
It is always the locals who are hardest hit at times like this, and these are largely folks who sacrifice to do what they do out of love for the place they are dedicated to. After fires, and Covid, and everything else, I suspect many are just barely holding on as it is. So please help if you are able to.
Miigwech for your consideration.
It amazes me how fast it happens, even as we know it’s been building for a long time. I wish I could make life easier for so many in much bigger ways.
Thank you for this information Chris.
A terrible situation. My heart breaks for people who are adversely affected by the flooding. So many across the country have lost so very much as a result of the climate changes we are experiencing. Hoping that all who are being impacted are safe.