Flooding in Yellowstone National Park and Adjacent Areas of Montana Today June 13, 2022

kwc

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I don't tweet but found this link for a NPS helicopter view of the NE Entrance Road. It is going to need some major repairs.


A group of us are planning visiting some of the backcountry between Canyon and the Lamar River in September. We were not planning on visiting Fairyland. . . I'm wondering if it will even still be there anyway.

The backcountry will still be there but getting there might become a problem, even by September. Yikes.
 

Bob

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lol ...... kinda funny but unrelated .......

An earthquake swarm hit a region of flood-stricken Yellowstone on Sunday ahead of the closure of the National Park due to unprecedented floods.

Data from the University of Utah's seismograph stations show that dozens of quakes up to a magnitude of about 2.4 hit an area around Grizzly Lake throughout the day and at various depths. Michigan Technological University's earthquake magnitude scale shows that earthquakes of a strength of 2.5 or less are usually not felt and tend to only be recorded by a seismograph.
 

Jackson

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Dont remeber what year....but Pebble Creek Campground was washed away...... Cooke City was isolated because of flooding... the North end was drenched.
One of my clients was telling me about that a couple weeks ago. Landslides on the Beartooth Highway and stuff. Sometime within the last 10-15 years I thought he said.
 

Jon Carbaugh

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That escalated quickly! Just got back yesterday, we were up there since Friday. Didn't go to Mammoth/Gardner area but went over Washburn and the rain/wind made us cancel our Garnet Hill hike on Saturday. All the rivers were quite swollen but didn't see all this coming. Sunday was a beautiful afternoon in the Tetons, hiked around Jenny lake and only got sprinkled on a little the last couple of miles.
 
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Ok this is wild! I realize it’s very early on with this, but what do you all think the Bechler area will be like? Considering it gets so much water normally. Do you think the Bechler River will blow out the trail?
 

Jackson

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Ok this is wild! I realize it’s very early on with this, but what do you all think the Bechler area will be like? Considering it gets so much water normally. Do you think the Bechler River will blow out the trail?

I don't think it will cause any major problems. Aside from the fords, the trail generally stays well above or far back from the river. The character of the fords could change just a little, like there may be a 3-4 foot ledge to get down to the sandy bank, but I have trouble imagining any part of it being entirely impassable.

And looking at gauges for streams in that area, it doesn't look like they had quite the spike that the streams to the north did.

Here's the Fall River, which drains a similar but smaller area. Henry's Fork was pretty similar. It's the highest it's been in the past decade, but not insanely high. Maybe 4300 cfs this year vs almost 4000 cfs in 2019. Not to say it couldn't peak higher, but I don't think it'll double.
1655240775304.png


Here's the Gardiner River, and you can see that it was twice as high as the second highest flow in the last decade. 3000 cfs vs 1500 cfs.
1655241072924.png
 
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Jackson

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Hopefully you don't need reservations to drive the loop if you have backcountry permits. I've got two backpacking trips down that way this fall.

The cynical part of me wonders if they'll keep the ticketed entry system in place hereafter. Even after everything is fixed.
 

Bob

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The northern loop is going to be closed for quite some time.

Also, it looks like entrance passes (à la Rocky Mountain NP) are coming for the southern loop.
Passes limiting entrance would be great.... Traffic has been ridiculous the past 2 - 3 years .. So many crowds are really destroying things ..
 

TheMountainRabbit

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Hopefully you don't need reservations to drive the loop if you have backcountry permits. I've got two backpacking trips down that way this fall.

The cynical part of me wonders if they'll keep the ticketed entry system in place hereafter. Even after everything is fixed.
Based on experience with RMNP, you probably wouldn't need a separate entrance pass if you have other reservations (backcountry, camping, etc.).

They've been considering the passes for a while, so I think there's a good chance they stick around.

Passes limiting entrance would be great.... Traffic has been ridiculous the past 2 - 3 years .. So many crowds are really destroying things ..
I've been happy with the limited entrance in RMNP so far - it's not perfect, but the park administration only has so many options available.
 

ImNotDedYet

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I'm actually shocked Yellowstone hasn't implemented reservations/passes already.

The reservation system in RMNP has actually made for a more enjoyable experience IMO, though I'm typically there first thing in the morning when there's not many people there. But the trip out isn't as ridiculous as it was a couple years ago.
 

Rockskipper

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This is an email Cam Sholly (YStone super) sent to YStone employees yesterday - copied from FB: https://www.facebook.com/groups/640111456007424 Some of this has been done by now.

Sharing Cam's email at 9:17 AM today for those who might not have access:
Here are the short and long-term objectives we've set and will be focused on as a park for recovery:
  • Ensure safety of employees and visitors
  • Implement full visitor closure of the northern loop (completed yesterday)
  • Implement full visitor closure of the southern loop (ongoing target completion today)
  • Implement full visitor closure of the backcountry (in process)
  • Evaluate needs for backcountry evacuations (begin today - assess how many people are in the backcountry, evacuation plan)
  • Improve Old Gardiner Road (work should begin on this today or tomorrow once precipitation subsides. Plan will be to use this road for admin travel and to evacuate visitors from Gardiner should Hwy 89 remain impassable)
  • Restore power to northern Yellowstone sites and Canyon, Lake, and Norris (Northwestern Energy working on this now and are saying should be restored today)
  • Evacuate Gardiner visitors through Old Gardiner Road if necessary (likely Thursday or Friday if possible and if Hwy 89 is not open)
  • Support Gardiner residents with resupply of food, water and medicine (we will be working with the Gardiner Market and others to determine needs of the community. We may bring supply trucks to Mammoth and fly supplies to Gardiner using the park's aircraft and potentially National Guard air support; working with county and state)
  • Support isolated NPS residents at NE entrance with resupply through aircraft when necessary (employees at NE entrance are sheltering in place, we are in contact with them and will gauge their needs to provide assistance. They are cut off from Cooke City)
  • Provide support to Cooke City residents as necessary
  • Mitigate wastewater impacts of destroyed sewer lines in Gardiner and Mammoth (ongoing)
  • Relocate all Mammoth-based concessions employees to properties on the southern loop (happening today and tomorrow)
  • Halt and redirect any inbound employees hired to work in Mammoth or Tower who haven't arrived yet
  • Support employees who lost housing in Gardiner (multiple actions)
  • Prepare for outside teams to travel to Yellowstone and assist with damage assessments when water recedes (mixture of Federal Highways, NPS, and other)
  • Prepare strategy for reservation system for southern loop for remainder of the year (we will not allow full visitation into the southern loop when it reopens and are working on options to control the amount of visitors who can enter the park; southern loop will likely not open for another 5 days at minimum)
  • Develop long-term reconstruction strategy based on damage assessments; funding strategies TBD with region/WASO/DOI
  • Continue substantive communications with gateway communities, congressional and DOI/NPS leadership
  • Continue media outreach
 

Rockskipper

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The latest as of today as from Max Waugh Photography

Some general takeaways from the recently-concluded (10-11am, June 16th) conference call between superintendent Cam Sholly and CUA holders:

  • They are hoping to re-open the southern loop by next Tuesday, but this is NOT definitive.
  • The park service is very concerned about over-crowding in the southern loop, so they're taking the "reservation" idea pretty seriously. The superintendent commented several times that if facilities and other services become overwhelmed due to too much visitation (with the northern half of the park cut off), they will have to scale back visitation more severely or close the park again, at least temporarily.
  • Visitors working with a CUA holder (licensed guides/outfitters) that are entering the park with that CUA holder may be exempt from the reservation system. However, they're not yet sure of the particulars for people who are meeting CUA holders in the park, or those who have guided activities planned but then choose to stay and explore beyond those guided sessions. Again, it comes back to monitoring and maintaining proper visitor quotas and not over-extending southern loop resources.
  • The Gardiner - Mammoth road is looking as though it's "not repairable," so they will be looking at establishing a new route. In the meantime, they're working hard to make improvements to the Old Gardiner Road to facilitate transport of personnel and supplies.
  • There is a long term goal of potentially expanding visitor road access to include the road that runs between Canyon - Tower/Roosevelt - Mammoth - Norris, but that is a secondary concern right now and decisions about it will be made some time far in the future, not any time soon. Priority needs to be placed on ensuring that tourist traffic doesn't interfere with the work being done to repair/rebuild the road out in and past the Lamar (that stretch is unlikely to re-open this season, of course).
  • The park is still assessing backcountry trails. There has been some significant damage in places. The Hellroaring cabin has been swept away, and some Lamar-area trails have experienced significant damage, based on aerial surveys conducted to date.
  • Park-run campgrounds will not re-open for the foreseeable future. Xanterra-run campgrounds may be able to re-open at some point, pending assessments and determinations about visitor capacity.
 
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