Budget Cuts Delay Yellowstone Summer Openings

Our season at Geyser Kayak Tours has always been the same as that of Yellowstone National Park. After all, nobody can even drive into the Park during Spring, until Park officials open the roads. Some years we have to delay our opening further because of weather, or more specifically ice on Yellowstone Lake. In 2011, Yellowstone Lake did not thaw until the 3rd week in June!

This year, thanks to across-the-board federal spending cuts that took effect Friday, Yellowstone National Park will not be opening on schedule. This not only effects thousands of visitors from across the country, but also effects locals who depend on those visitors for their jobs.

Staggered opening dates for Yellowstone’s five entrances will be delayed by several weeks, as the costly and complex road-clearing operations that normally begin in early March will wait until more snow has melted before starting.

Superintendent Dan Wenk is expected to formally announce the delays Today in a conference call with reporters. But in a conversation earlier this week with gateway community business leaders, Wenk detailed how federally mandated spending cuts will effect Yellowstone.

The park’s north and west entrances will open April 26, one week behind schedule, according to Scott Balyo, executive director of the Cody Country Chamber of Commerce, who was among those included in the call with Wenk. The east, south and northeast entrances will all open two weeks later than scheduled, with the east entrance opening May 17 and the south and northeast entrances opening May 24.