Tourism

Editor’s note: Time will tell about the tourist picture | Opinion

It looks like the travel industry around Yellowstone Park has a tough road ahead this summer.

Less than two weeks ago, the flooding and subsequent closure of the entire park looked like the end of the world. The news sparked a flurry of cancellations at Cody’s hotels and campgrounds over the weekend.

It was then announced on Sunday that the South Loop would reopen on Wednesday with a limited number of visitors allowed under the rotating license plate system.

Surprisingly, it was also announced that most of the park’s northern loop is expected to reopen in two weeks or less, with the National Park Service providing $50 million for restoration work.

What’s even more surprising, after seeing photos of road and bridge damage in the park, is that the Federal Highway Administration is working with the NPS on a range of temporary and permanent options to restore access to Silver Gate and Cooke City.

Considering the images of the damage, this seems like an incredible feat.

With 80% of the park open to visitors and the north and northeast entrances temporarily closed, does that mean Cody can expect even more visitors this year?

It’s a big unknown, but one thing’s for sure: Travelers don’t like uncertainty. They want to know if they can get into Yellowstone before they leave the house or if they will be denied when they arrive.

The people of Cody have worked hard for years to turn Cody into a tourist destination rather than an overnight stopover on their way to Yellowstone. Perhaps this year, those efforts will be tested.

What will be the tourism this year is not yet clear. But what initially looked catastrophic doesn’t seem all that terrible, even with a few good news thrown in.

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