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Tuesday, 23 April 2024

The National Park Service warns of this problem around a popular park

by BD Banks

While they have been “a thing” ever since Teddy Roosevelt first started designating certain forests as national parks in the 1900s, national park use has been at record-high since the pandemic period in which many people started looking more closely at the treasures they have closer to home.

The flip side of this type of exploration is the overcrowding that comes with greater numbers of visitors. Mount Rainier in Washington state, Zion in Utah and Yosemite in California have all looked at different ways of combating the problem — from raising entry prices to requiring visitors to register their entry time ahead of time.

Related: Another National Park just made it more difficult for you to visit

This month, the National Park Service (NPS) is also warning of traffic delays at Yellowstone National Park spanning Wyoming, Montana and Idaho. Along with growing numbers of visitors as the summer season nears, two road construction projects are expected to cause delays of up to 30 minutes at entrances to the park.

Yellowstone is one of the country’s most beloved national parks.

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NPS reminds visitors to ‘plan accordingly for these delays’

“The Lewis River Bridge and Yellowstone River Bridge projects will cause traffic delays,” the NPS said in its announcement. “It’s important that visitors plan accordingly for these delays located along the park’s southern and northern road corridors.”

More Travel:

From the start of May to the end of October, 10 miles around the Lewis River Bridge as well as the South Entrance on South Entrance Road will see delays of up to 20 minutes while the road around Near Tower Junction along the Northeast Entrance Road will see delays of up to 30 minutes. 

While the main road will remain open to wheeled cars with delays, the pullout roads and trail to Lewis River Falls will also be closed during the construction period.

‘Enlarged to accommodate increased visitor use’

The two construction projects began in the last two years but will be reaching their most active period during the coming months. Both are also expected to be finished by the end of 2024.

“A new 1,285-foot-long, 175-foot-high steel girder bridge upstream will replace the existing 604-foot-long bridge to preserve year-round access to/from the Northeast Entrance and communities of Silver Gate and Cooke City, Montana,” the NPS said further. “New pullouts, paved parking areas, and dedicated route across the new bridge will increase access to trails, fishing and viewpoints. The Yellowstone River Picnic Area will be enlarged to accommodate increased visitor use.”

Earlier this month, the NPS also announced that the Ramsay Cascades Trail to see a waterfall at Great Smoky Mountains National Park at the border of Tennessee and South Carolina will be closed most days of the week until the fall for a similar road restoration project.

To ensure that those who want to hike it can still do so, it will be opened in a staggered schedule that grants access on Fridays and the weekends as well as whatever national holidays fall between now and the start of November.

“Trail crews will repair tread surfaces, improve drainages, construct trail structures such as staircases, turnpikes, and retaining walls and remove trip hazards like exposed roots and rocks,” the NPS said in a statement. “The rehabilitation will improve overall trail safety and protect the park’s natural resources.”

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