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An Ode to Yellowstone

An Ode to Yellowstone

My thoughts remain with Yellowstone. My favorite National Park experienced a major flood. While repairs are underway, the impacts of this extraordinary event are still in the mix. The park received three inches of rain and over five inches of snow during the first week of June. Temperatures rose, and it created a historical “high water event” that consumed roads and forced the entire park to close. The northern portion of Yellowstone received the most damage. A helicopter flight over the road connecting Mammoth Hot Springs and Gardiner, Montana, showed several sections that were completely gone. Incredible. The water was at an all-time level. It was a disaster — one for the ages.

Growing up in Billings, Montana, I have spent a great deal of time in this region. I know the area quite well. My family and I were out just a few years prior. We camped and fished along the Gardiner River. I have some great photos of Jensen and me catching healthy browns in a section that is no longer. So this tragedy hit close to home. Some of you may have seen the footage of a large cabin being swept away. Yes. I remember that structure. It was quite scary. Again my heart and prayers are with this entire community.

“An indefinite full backcountry closure has been enacted in Yellowstone,” Park Superintendent Cam Sholly told reporters. “Dozens or hundreds of backcountry bridges may have been lost in the flooding. We are doing our best to assess and make repairs to reopen. There will be significant changes to accommodate visitors and their safety.”

The Northern loop received the most damage. The flooding only affected the south in some areas. The Park is now open in a few areas. But everything was impacted. The Lamar Valley is another one of my favorites. This beautiful stretch is between Mammoth and Cooke City, Montana. The high water did some damage. Repairs are underway. Kudos to Yellowstone’s officials. They are exceeding all expectations.

“Some sections of rivers and tributaries may have changed permanently,” Sholly added. “This makes it rather difficult to rebuild the roads precisely as they were. Our team is on it. Unfortunately, we were hit with an unprecedented situation.”

I feel bad for those who had to cancel their reservations. Yellowstone National Park is extraordinary. She will be back sooner than later. I vividly remember the fires when I was just a youngster. This also caused some major havoc. But the park survived and came back even better. I believe that this will be the case after this summer. Please be patient. America’s best are now on it. Each week I receive reports that roads are getting fixed and are now open to visitors. Yes. I hurt for those in the industry that solely rely on the Park’s many visitors. Hang in there, Yellowstone. I hope to see you again. We changed our plans and are heading to the Black Hills this summer instead. Cheers.