Montana Public Radio

Yellowstone National Park

A file photo of a tour bus entering Yellowstone Park from the West Yellowstone entrance.
Yellowstone National Park (PD)

Montana's three Yellowstone National Park entrances have opened after they were closed two months ago to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus.

 

Montanans who’ve been stuck in the house due to the coronavirus pandemic are finally getting some fresh air on the state’s campsites. That’s led to some unusually high visitor rates in some areas, while in others, campers are getting to know corners of the state they might not have otherwise thought to go.

All five entrances to Yellowstone National Park will be open to day-use visitors starting Monday at 10 am. Visitors will once again be able to access the park via the three Montana entrances next to West Yellowstone, Gardiner and Cooke City. Yellowstone’s two less-trafficked Wyoming entrances have been open since May 18.

Yellowstone National Park is seeking public comment on an updated proposal to replace, improve and expand existing Wi-Fi access in some areas.

Big sky country and big adventures drew in over 12 million tourists to Montana last year. As the state moves to reopen amid low COVID-19 case numbers, some Montana communities have to weigh the economic importance of tourism with local safety.

Area Closed sign and barricade in front of a national park sign.
Breanna McCabe / MontanaPBS

The National Park Service is beginning to test public access in some of its parks across the country, and Yellowstone National Park will allow visitors to enter the park through its Wyoming gates beginning Monday, May 18. Glacier National Park remains closed, but both parks prepare to open access in Montana in the coming weeks.

Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks announced plans to partially reopen in phases starting on May 18, after a seven week closure due to COVID-19. 

Starting Monday at noon, visitors will be allowed to enter Yellowstone National Park through its southern and eastern Wyoming gates. They’ll be limited to the lower loop of the park, which includes Old Faithful, Yellowstone Lake and Hayden Valley.

As Yellowstone National Park moves closer to releasing its reopening plan, the community next to its busiest entrance is working on boosting its ability to test residents, workers and visitors for the COVID-19 illness. 


A group of winter tour guides in West Yellowstone say they were laid off after trying to unionize this winter. They’ve filed unfair labor practice charges against one of Yellowstone National Park’s leading concessionaires, which will be heard later this year. The case signals a rare but possibly growing interest among seasonal workers to organize.

Grizzly bear in Yellowstone National Park.
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

Oral arguments over removing Yellowstone-area grizzly bears from the Endangered Species Act are set for Tuesday in the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco.

The case over whether roughly 700 grizzly bears living in and around Yellowstone National Park should be delisted has been passed up the court system for nearly three years.

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