Saturday, June 19, 2010

Yellowstone Ranger Communications needs some serious help!

I had one partial day to spend in Yellowstone National Park on June 18 and I had it planned out to the minute.
However, bad weather and a lack of communication from the park rangers to the public plagued me.
So, I enter the park at 8 a.m. on a clear, sunny day at the north entrance.
No warning of road closures, only the usual road construction listed on fliers.
What I didn't know and what the rangers or no signs ever indicated until you got there, was that the road from Tower to Canyon was closed all morning and into the afternoon, as the ice from the previous day's storm had to melt off!
This meant a lot of backtracking.
Why couldn't the ranger have indicated this closure as I entered the park?
Can't they afford an electronic warning sign in Mammoth, so you know the road is closed 18 miles ahead, before you actually get there and have no way out but back the same way?
Dozens and dozens of motorists faced my same problem.
As it was, I had to walk in the Tower ranger station and ask for a clarification on the closure.

Also, the roads in Yellowstone were the worst I've ever seen as far as potholes goes. There were some seriously large and unavoidable holes out there!
I don't doubt Yellowstone could use more funding, but this problem never should have happened. I should have been told about the closure BEFORE I drove the road.
I ended up having drive an extra 51 miles to get to Canyon, a must on my trip list. Now 51 miles in Yellowstone on winding roads, riddled with holes and drivers who block the road if they see so much as a deer, took about 2 hours extra.
The Old Faithful area was the most crowded I've ever seen it. It looks like new visitor facilities are being constructed there though.
I think Yellowstone is at its best in June, but unpredictable weather can be a problem, even if the day you visit is in the 60s and totally sunny.
There's also no radio station for tourists to listen to in Yellowstone, as in many national parks, probably due to it up and down topography.
UPDATE in 2016: There is now some controversy over too much cell coverage in Yellowstone -- more than planned on. Still not enough to create safe conditions in such a large and volatile park.

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