Travel

Flooding in Yellowstone hampered tour operators in Utah

An outdoor tourism company in Utah is trying to figure out what the flooding means for their summer tours of Yellowstone National Park after historic flash floods destroyed roads and left the entire park closed at all entrances.

Mountainbased Adventures is a family run business in Mountain Green run by three brothers and a cousin and just starting their summer tours.

Co-owner and adventure director Justin Ebert explained how they organize hikes and hikes in all five of Utah’s national parks, as well as Yellowstone and other nearby iconic nature spots.

Many of the tours are attracting clients who are excitedly checking places like YNP off their wish list following the travel hiatus during COVID.

“We’ve had clients waiting almost two years to get out there,” Ebert said.

Their first trip to Yellowstone this season was due next week. But for the past two days, Ebert has watched the destruction and devastation unfold around Yellowstone, knowing that it could affect his tour.

Yellowstone authorities assess damage from historic floods

The water washed away roads, bridges, buildings and infrastructure. Yellowstone National Park officials said on Tuesday that recovery in some areas, especially in the northern part of the park, will be massive and take quite a long time.

“I think it’s just the broad scale of what we’re dealing with in Yellowstone right now, it’s a more complex thing,” he said.

Customers are reaching out, he pointed out, asking what this means for their trip. Ebert said things are changing as he works to form a solid response.

“We have people who are obviously waiting for more information, but at the same time, we understand that this is one of those things that may take some time to understand exactly what is happening,” he said.

Ebert listened to the YNP press conference on Tuesday, hoping for answers. He found that the northern loop of the park may be closed for the entire season, and some roads will not open this summer. But he hopes the south loop, where their tours spend the most time in the park, will allow visitors to return soon.

It’s hard to say what that means for a trip scheduled for next week.

“We are in the process of sorting out this trip and so we are in a kind of waiting game to see how it will play out,” he said.

In the meantime, they are looking for alternatives, Ebert said. Fortunately, they already had the experience of quickly changing plans.

In places like Zion, Ebert explained that they have seen rock falls and flash floods lead to closures.

“We are confident that at some point we will be able to resume operations as we anticipated doing these trips this year,” he said.

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