What are the plans for opening the North Entrance next year?

Monday, June 27, 2022

Editor:

We have read reports out of Yellowstone National Park regarding road work, progress, etc. Possible commercial tour groups coming in this year. For most of us here, this season is shot.

The question I have is what about next year? No one is talking next year. As a short-term rental owner and knowing many others, what we are wondering about down here is, when is the Park Service or DOI going to give us firm guidance on next year’s North Entrance accesiblity? From my reservation history of over 13 years, travelers start making their reservations about the end of December and really get fully active in January for all of the months of May through October. I know it seems too early to think that far in advance, but this kind of information is critical to our businesses. Not just rentals, but everyone here.

If we don’t get a firm positive outlook for car traffic access into the Park by the beginning of December, those people who were looking to come to Gardiner next year will be looking elsewhere. Waiting until April or May to say yes or no will be another death knell to the Gardiner tourism market. The travelers will have gone elsewere.

Some of us can maybe survive, but two years? I dont know too many people in any industry who can survive two years of no revenue.

While it’s nice to keep saying Montana is open, from the many cancellations I have talked with, they dont care — their intent is to get into Yellowstone, despite massive crowds, to see a bear and a buffalo and Old Faithful. For 95% of them cancelling, all the roses and rainbows I threw at them about the wonders of Gardiner and Paradise Valley, the overwhelming response was, “we based our trip on Yellowstone.” There was simply no discussion, just cancel. So if the Park Service cant unleash all of its powers to dismiss, EPA, DEQ, enviro NGO regulations and get some kind of tourist access, Gardiner can expect another year in 2023 as bad as this year.

So if they could give us something to work with about next year, it would be appreciated. I think most of us have written this year off, so what is it gonna be for next year? I don’t think long-term planning is a Park Service attribute, but we really need to know, so we can make plans.

Another item I found really concerning is a comment from a Park official regarding the washed-out road, to the effect, we knew it was going to happen, just not this soon, but that’s another question when I can find the quote.

Kim K. Kaiser

Gardiner

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