Federal Government Shutdown Impacts Wyoming Sites
December 22, 2018—Wyoming—Officials have announced a partial federal government shutdown, which includes the closure and/or limited services of federal sites, parks and landmarks throughout Wyoming.
In Wyoming, the federal government shutdown interrupts national parks, national recreation areas and natural historic sites, particularly when it comes to access, services, emergency personnel and ranger-led tours. While the shutdown is closing some national parks, recreation areas and historic sites (and affiliated visitor centers, restrooms, etc.), Yellowstone National Park and Grand Teton National Park remain open.
- Yellowstone National Park:
- Yellowstone will remain open, however, all government-run operations and facilities are closed. Entrance stations will not be staffed.
- The road from the park’s North Entrance at Gardiner, Montana, through Mammoth Hot Springs to the Northeast Entrance at Cooke City, Montana, is open to wheeled vehicle travel. Visitors can access all the commercial services along this route (including commercial services in Mammoth Hot Springs and Tower).
- Visitors can also access commercial services in the interior of the park via oversnow travel (e.g. at Old Faithful). Concessioners are currently providing funding for road grooming so that oversnow access to the interior is possible.
- Guided snowmobile and snowcoach trips with commercial operators will be allowed. Non-commercially guided snowmobile trips will also be allowed.
- If conditions become unsafe at any time, roads and/or developed areas in the park may be closed.
- Park staff will provide emergency services and law enforcement. All park regulations, including those regarding oversnow travel, are in effect as normal.
- The park website and social media sites will not be maintained.
- All administrative offices, including the public affairs office, will be closed until the government reopens.
Old Faithful Snow Lodge, operated by Yellowstone National Park Lodges, remains open. In-park restaurants and gift shops remain open as regularly scheduled. Tours and activities may be modified based on road and weather conditions. For the most current information on services offered by Yellowstone National Park Lodges, visit www.yellowstonenationalparklodges.com or call 307-344-7311.
- Grand Teton National Park:
- Park roads will remain open if they are essential to respond to emergencies-this includes most roads that are normally maintained and open at this time of year. Access to all residences will be maintained.
- Emergency response may be delayed.
- Entrance stations will not be staffed.
- Grooming of the Teton Park Road will continue through a partnership agreement with Grand Teton National Park Foundation. Grooming is scheduled to occur twice a week.
- Teton Interagency Dispatch Center will be available during normal winter hours-6 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. Emergency 911 calls will be answered by Teton County Dispatch 24 hours/day.
- Park website and social media sites will not be maintained.
- Concessioners and Commercial Use Authorization holders may continue to provide visitor services after coordination with the park to ensure compliance with government shutdown protocols.
- Access to Yellowstone National Park’s south entrance will continue, including staging and winter services available at Headwaters Lodge at Flagg Ranch in John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Memorial Parkway.
- Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area: All park facilities (restrooms, visitor centers, etc.) are closed; visitor access to recreation areas, trails and fishing on the area’s waterway remain open.
- National Historic Trails Interpretive Center: All facilities and Casper Visitor’s Center are closed. For visitor information and assistance, please contact the Visit Casper office at 307-234-5362.
- Devils Tower National Monument: Access to the park is open, but all services (buildings, restrooms, etc.) are closed.
- Fossil Butte National Monument: Facilities are closed; visitor access to trails remains open.
- Fort Laramie National Historic Site: All fenced facilities are closed; the Confluence Trail along the North Platte River remains open.
- National Elk Refuge: Sleigh ride tours on the National Elk Refuge through Double H Bar will continue as previously scheduled. For more information on ticket sales and services, please call the Jackson Hole Chamber of Commerce at 307-733-3316.
Visitors to all of Wyoming’s national parks, historic sites and recreation areas are advised and encouraged to practice caution and follow all safety protocol on national lands, as emergency services are limited as part of the shutdown.
Authorized and licensed guides with special use permits and commercial-use authorization holders will continue to operate on federal lands, including U.S.F.S. land, and will continue previously scheduled tours as planned. Visitors are encouraged to contact those individual businesses for the most current information on their scheduled tour.
While federal sites are affected by the shutdown, there are abundant options for travelers who have trips planned into impacted national parks, historic sites, etc.
- Wyoming State Parks remain open and unaffected, with abundant recreation options at Boysen State Park near Riverton and Lander, Hot Spring State Park in Thermopolis, Buffalo Bill State Park in Cody, Glendo State Park near Laramie, Keyhole State Park in Moorcroft, Curt Gowdy State Park near Laramie and Bear River State Park in Evanston Parks offer ice fishing (with valid fishing license), hiking, natural hot springs, fat tire biking, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, snowmobiling and sledding. For more information, visit http://wyoparks.state.wy.us/.
- On the eastern side of Yellowstone National Park, Cody has an array of visitor offerings, including the Buffalo Bill Center of the West, while nearby Thermopolis is home to Hot Springs State Park, soaking pools and the Wyoming Dinosaur Center. www.codyyellowstone.org
- In western and northwest Wyoming, visitors can ski and snowboard at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, Grand Targhee, Snow King and White Pine Ski Area. Scenic drives are also available on the Star Valley Scenic Byway. www.jacksonholechamber.com, www.visitpinedale.org