Post Labor Day Yellowstone construction and fire have made an unnecessary hardship-
Now this in combination with snow has all but closed the Park early-
Yesterday you enjoyed Dusty Road’s photos of the Arnica Fire taken from Yellowstone Lake (on a boat), but Dusty, a local resident, has more to say. Ralph Maughan
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Road Closure Intermittent Due to Arnica Fire
Incident: Arnica Fire WildfireReleased: 9 hrs. ago
On Thursday, October 1st, the road from Bridge Bay to West Thumb will be open for visitor travel with a pilot car between 6-8 a.m., 1200-1 p.m., and 6-8 p.m., delays may be expected. Other area roads are impacted by weather. Dunraven Pass is closed due to snow. Madison to Norris is closed due to construction. Snow tires are required from East Entrance to Lake.
Arnica Fire Update October 1, 2009.
By Dusty Roads. copyrighted.
The major problem with this whole situation is a display of questionable management decisions on the part of the park administration. Since August 17th of this year the eastern portion of the north loop in the park has been closed for the construction of the new bridge at Gibbon Falls which means that ALL traffic through the park must travel around the Grand Loop via the eastern side to the southern segment from the northern portion to get to Old Faithful or the west and south. The eastern and southernmost portions of the route had become the only way to access any of the northern part of the park from the west gate. For those who visualize by landmarks: to get to the west entrance from Gardiner, instead of going from Mammoth to Norris to Madison Jct. you have to go over Dunraven Pass and then on over Craig Pass via West Thumb and past Old Faithful to get to Madison Jct. or south to Grand Teton NP. It’s 49 miles from Gardiner to West Yellowstone otherwise. At this point travel from the West and South Entrances ore cut off from the rest of the park except when the pilot action is taking place. With Dunraven closed, well, I think most can figure that out.
This presents something of a deterrent for tourist pinching vacation dollars given the current economic climate creating an early and weak end to the tourist season for the gate communities that depend on park tourism.
With the park essentially closed for the season at this point, given the long tasks ahead for park maintenance, the season has ended abruptly three weeks early. It means some serious economic losses for these communities and the people who work for the businesses who accommodate the tourists with their needs while visiting Yellowstone NP. What happens next is anyone’s guess.
Perhaps it would have made sense for the park administration to reopen Gibbon Falls passage for the remaining three weeks or less rather than to just close the only park thoroughfare. The construction companies working that job could surely have made it passable within a day. It seems to take the park administration far too long to make crucial decisions that impact the traffic flow and the safety of the public. By being unable to make sound decisions concerning population management~from traffic control in traffic jam prone areas to handling travelers’ safety in fire areas~shows a severe lack of concern for public safety in a national park that endures millions of visitors.
As for the gate communities, the world has fallen silent from loss of tourists. The residents are suddenly preparing for a longer than expected in-between season with uncertainty over what the winter tourism will be given the shrinking winter visitors for snowmobiling in and outside the park. Expensive park trips that even the residents of the gate communities can not afford are not attracting many tourists for sled or coach trips.
The park needs better management, the visitors deserve better. The businesses and residents of gate communities thrive or wither by way of park policy, most have nothing but tourism for income.