Yellowstone businesses await the return of visitors

Jun 22, 2022, 8:36 PM | Updated: 8:39 pm

YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK, Wyo. – When you’ve been around as long as the Historic Madison Hotel just outside of Yellowstone National Park, there is plenty of room for good times and bad.

“We’ve been here since 1912. We are the oldest operating hotel in West Yellowstone,” said owner Garrett Ostler. “You would think we’d be used to this, but natural disasters are natural disasters, and it’s sad for everyone.”

Last week’s flood and damage to Yellowstone is just the latest setback for business owners.

For gateway towns that rely on tourism for their livelihood, having the park closed all week hurt.

“Let me tell you, business in the last eight days has been terrible,” said Ostler.

Cancellation after cancellation, even into September, means more than a hundred thousand dollars in lost revenue for Ostler. He’s just one business.

“It was extremely, extremely, extremely tough,” said Daniel Flores, who owns the Outpost Restaurant in West Yellowstone.

Businesses near Yellowstone National Park.

When the park closed, many people decided to change their vacation plans and not visit West Yellowstone.

“We were all hurting, but we stayed together. We understood, and hey, let’s keep it going,” Flores said.

He’s glad he did because tomorrow Yellowstone National Park is re-opening its southern loop, and West Yellowstone is one of the entrances visitors can access.

“You know, we’re tremendously excited,” Ostler said.

That historic flood is just another chapter in history for a park, its surrounding towns, and a historic hotel that’s been through it all. And ready for more.

“Our calendar is wide open right now because people canceled in a panic,” Ostler said. “Well, other people are scheduling.”

There are rules to manage visitation, with half of the park opening on Wednesday.

Getting in depends on your license plate.

If the last number of your plate is even, you can get in on even-numbered days.

If your plate ends with an odd number, you can get in on odd-numbered days.

Plates with all letters and no numbers fall into the odd-numbered category, and if your plate ends with a letter but has numbers, the last number is what counts.

Those with reservations are allowed in regardless of their license plate number.

Yellowstone license plate system.

You can check out all the details on the license plate plan. 

The park is also planning on opening a section of the Northern Loop in a couple of weeks.

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Yellowstone businesses await the return of visitors