As of Sunday, January 27, Yellowstone National Park began reopening previously closed stations during the shutdown. Originally, all government-run facilities were closed since late December 2018 and the entrance stations were left unstaffed (nps.gov).

Park employees are excited to fill the empty park stations and continue to allow visitors to enjoy the splendors Yellowstone has to offer. Here is a basic timeline of the park’s reopening.

  • On Sunday, January 27, the Albright Visitor Center, the Old Faithful Visitor Education Center, the Canyon Visitor Education Center lobby, and the West Yellowstone Visitor Information Center ranger desk resumed operation at 11 a.m., allowing backcountry permits to be purchased by the public once again.
  • Monday, January 28, the majority of furloughed staff return to open the rest of the previously closed park functions, beginning with the backlog of permit applications such as special use permits, film permits, research permits, and commercial use authorizations. Furthermore, the public is now able to acquire permits for the non-commercially-guided snowmobile access program.

Although the park has resumed its normal hours of operation, the official press release given by Yellowstone’s Public Affairs Office asks visitors to be patient as their workers reopen the facilities. With a lot of snow removal and safety checks required around most of the park buildings, certain activities in the park may take longer than expected.

In the official press release, the park gave a special thank you to the concessioners, notably Xanterra Travel Collection, who made numerous donations during the government shutdown allowing NPS staff to clear the roads and continue to make oversnow access possible. They also showed gratitude to the local gateway communities and partners who supported the park and NPS during the shutdown.