LOCAL NEWS

Utah families make new plans after flooding closes Yellowstone National Park

Jun 15, 2022, 6:02 PM | Updated: 7:14 pm

YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK — Campers and visitors waited in lines trying to get inside Yellowstone National Park Wednesday even though rangers closed the park due to destructive flooding.

Trucks loaded with gravel and sand got inside the park, most likely headed to areas that needed immediate repair.

Everyone else who had plans and reservations was forced to come up with something else to do.

It’s all about making memories. 

A crackling campfire is a good start.

“We grew up coming every other year,” said Mike Ellsworth.

He cherishes his childhood memories of Yellowstone National Park, so he, his wife, and their three kids decided to make reservations in the Canyons section of the park.

They made those reservations last year.

“Last June, we booked this trip,” said Ellsworth. “It’s a special place. The boys have loved coming up here. They don’t want to camp anywhere else.”

However, on their way from their Box Elder County home to Yellowstone a couple of days ago, they started getting messages some of the entrances were closing because of flooding. When they were only about a couple of hours away from Yellowstone, they got word the entire park was closed.

“We saw all the signs on the roads saying Yellowstone was closed,” he said.

Melting snow in Yellowstone’s mountains and heavy rainfall for days led to what Yellowstone’s Park Superintendent called a 1000-year flood.

Rivers broke records, as well as roads, bridges, and anything else in the way.

For safety reasons, no one was being allowed in the park and all visitors already there were being evacuated.

“It was sad news,” said Ellsworth.

They needed to come up with a new plan. Everyone who was visiting did.

“We were kind of hopeful things would change and we could get in but nope,” said Ralph Bennett.

Bennett and his family had Yellowstone plans since October.

They decided to go fishing instead and do a little shopping in what quickly became a busier West Yellowstone.

“Other than that, just try to stay warm in the tent,” said Bennett with a laugh.

Both families said it’s not that bad, though, especially compared to those business owners in Gardiner, Montana, where damage seems to be the worst.

It could take months, if not years, to recover.

“We feel bad for those folks,” said Ellsworth.

He and his family are still making memories on this trip. It’s just different from what they had planned.

“Playing games at the camp here with the boys. Just doing whatever we can do,” he said. “We’re having fun no matter what.”

The big question everyone has is when might Yellowstone open again?

The Northern loop could be closed for the rest of the season. The Southern loop, which contains Old Faithful, might open sometime next week.

However, park administrators are looking at a reservation-type system to get in since the Southern loop alone can’t handle the entire park’s normal visitation.

Details are still being worked out.

KSL 5 TV Live

Local News

A voter places her ballot into a secure ballot drop box at the Salt Lake County Government Center i...

Bridger Beal-Cvetko, KSL.com

What to watch for on a busy Utah primary election day

A long and unusually crowded 2024 primary election is almost in the books in Utah, as Republican voters will select their party's nominees in several statewide and federal races Tuesday.

2 hours ago

FILE (Photo by George Frey/Getty Images)...

Daniella Rivera

KSL Investigation examines more than a decade of alleged election crime in Utah

Election fraud is rare in Utah, but it does happen – that's what the KSL Investigators found after looking at nearly 12 years of statewide court records.

11 hours ago

Parts of Utah have been given a heat advisory on Sunday. A view of the state Capitol and the Salt L...

Andrew Adams

As temperatures approach 100, urban surfaces can make the heat even more present

When temperatures approach and reach triple digits, heat captured and reflected by surfaces can make conditions in urban areas only more sweltering.

11 hours ago

A light on top of a police car...

Mark Jones

Man suffers minor injuries in paragliding crash near Parowan

Police say a 74-year-old man suffered minor injuries Monday following a paragliding accident.

12 hours ago

The body of a Idaho man was recovered Monday, June 24, 2024, in the Blackrock Canyon, south of Poca...

Mark Jones

Idaho man found dead in canyon south of Pocatello

Authories in Idaho say the body of a 49-year-old man was found Monday in the Blackrock Canyon, south of Pocatello.

13 hours ago

A California man is being held without bond at the Salt Lake County Jail for allegedly kidnapping h...

Brianna Chavez

California man arrested for allegedly kidnapping girlfriend

A California man is being held without bond at the Salt Lake County Jail for allegedly kidnapping his girlfriend over the weekend.

14 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Photo courtesy of Artists of Ballet West...

Ballet West

The rising demand for ballet tickets: why they’re harder to get

Ballet West’s box office is experiencing demand they’ve never seen before, leaving many interested patrons unable to secure tickets they want.

Electrician repairing ceiling fan with lamps indoors...

Lighting Design

Stay cool this summer with ceiling fans

When used correctly, ceiling fans help circulate cool and warm air. They can also help you save on utilities.

Side view at diverse group of children sitting in row at school classroom and using laptops...

PC Laptops

5 internet safety tips for kids

Read these tips about internet safety for kids so that your children can use this tool for learning and discovery in positive ways.

Women hold card for scanning key card to access Photocopier Security system concept...

Les Olson

Why printer security should be top of mind for your business

Connected printers have vulnerable endpoints that are an easy target for cyber thieves. Protect your business with these tips.

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light up your home with these top lighting trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for hassle-free computer repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Utah families make new plans after flooding closes Yellowstone National Park