Update: Yellowstone National Park is reopening its flood-damaged north loop at noon on Saturday, in time for the Fourth of July holiday weekend, park Superintendent Cam Sholly said Thursday. The loop is reopening nearly three weeks after massive flooding forced thousands to flee the park as water, rocks, and mud washed out bridges and roads. The southern loop previously reopened. The park's alternating license plate entry system, put in place to limit visitors as repairs continued, also will be suspended. Our story from June 18 follows:
Yellowstone National Park will partially reopen at 8am Wednesday, after catastrophic flooding destroyed bridges and roads and drove out thousands of tourists. The Park Service said visitors will once again be allowed on the park’s southern loop under a temporary license plate system designed to manage the crowds, per the AP. Those with even-numbered plates and motorcycle groups will be allowed on even-numbered days, and those with odd-numbered or vanity plates on odd-numbered days. Commercial tours and visitors with proof of overnight reservations at hotels, campgrounds, or in the backcountry will be allowed in whatever their plate number.
Visitors had been flocking to Yellowstone this year during its 150th anniversary celebration. The southern loop provides access to Old Faithful, the rainbow-colored Grand Prismatic Spring, and the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone and its majestic waterfall. It can be accessed from the park's south, east, and west entrances. The north loop is expected to remain closed through the summer, if not longer. Officials say it could take it could take years and cost more than $1 billion to repair the damage in the environmentally sensitive landscape.
(Read more Yellowstone National Park