Yellowstone Chief Says Park Flooding ‘1,000-Year Event,’ Officials Assessing Total Damage

© AP Photo / Beth HarpazThis September, 2009 file photo shows the Norris Geyser Basin in Yellowstone National Park, Wyo. Rangers are navigating a dangerous landscape where boiling water flows beneath a fragile rock crust as they search for a man who reportedly fell into a hot spring at Yellowstone National Park. Officials say the safety of park personnel was a top concern during the search in the popular Norris Geyser Basin. The man is presumed dead.
This September, 2009 file photo shows the Norris Geyser Basin in Yellowstone National Park, Wyo. Rangers are navigating a dangerous landscape where boiling water flows beneath a fragile rock crust as they search for a man who reportedly fell into a hot spring at Yellowstone National Park. Officials say the safety of park personnel was a top concern during the search in the popular Norris Geyser Basin. The man is presumed dead.  - Sputnik International, 1920, 15.06.2022
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WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - Officials are assessing damage to infrastructure in Yellowstone National Park following severe flooding that may have been a once in a thousand year occurrence, Yellowstone Superintendent Cam Sholly said during a press briefing.
The flooding may have been a “thousand-year event” according to Sholly. The Yellowstone River’s previous cubic feet per second record of 31,000 cfs was shattered by Sunday night’s rating of 51,000 cfs, Sholly said on Tuesday.
“We won’t know until we can assess [the damage]. We’re going to do everything we can to safely reopen… We’re working on a range of alternatives and engaging a lot of partners and stakeholders on what that might look like, ” Sholly said on Tuesday when asked by Sputnik about the expected impact of the flooding on park infrastructure and summer tourism.
Officials are assembling an interagency team from around the United States to help assess the damage and will pursue a full range of different funding avenues for restoration projects as needed, Sholly said.
Yellowstone - the oldest national park in the world, according to the US National Park Service – was entirely cleared of visitors as of Tuesday morning, Sholly also said. However, there are 12 people still in the park’s backcountry who are making their way out and are in contact with officials, Sholly added.
Yellowstone has never before been closed due to flooding, although it experienced closures during government shutdowns and the COVID-19 pandemic, Sholly said.
Yellowstone  - Sputnik International, 1920, 14.06.2022
US State of Montana Declares Disaster Amid Yellowstone Park Flooding
Local businesses in Yellowstone and its gateway communities like Gardiner and Cooke City, which were hit particularly hard by the flooding, will likely suffer as a result of summer tourist cancellations, Montana Park County Commissioner Bill Berg also said during the press briefing.
Law enforcement and other public services are unable to reach certain impacted areas where roadways have been damaged by flooding, according to Berg. Flooding, rockslides, mudslides, and other hazardous conditions made many sections of road impassable.
The flooding, which also impacted communities outside of Yellowstone in the states of Montana and Wyoming, prompted Montana Governor Greg Gianforte to declare a statewide disaster on Tuesday.
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