YNP Construction Concerns Continue

A Cody Chamber of Commerce spokeswoman is asking people in Cody to write to Yellowstone and tell park officials not to close the park’s east entrance too early.

Park officials are considering reconstructing the Fishing Bridge.

News 13’s Penny Preston reports they are also considering closing the east entrance on Labor Day next year.

Whether it’s prime grizzly bear or wolf watching, or watching the waterfalls of Yellowstone’s Grand Canyon, the closest place to access these park wonders is through the park’s east entrance.

Cody, 52 miles away, depends on money spent by hundreds of thousands of tourists who drive through on their way to Yellowstone every summer.

Now, park officials have proposed rehabilitating or replacing Fishing Bridge, which is in need of repair.

Reconstructing the road from Fishing Bridge east to Indian Pond and replacing the bridge over Pelican Creek with a 1,500 foot viaduct over the wetland there.

The environmental assessment also says a complete road closure after Labor Day could be required.

That concerns a lot of business owners, and their employees here.
The community use to depend primarily on the mid-summer traffic generated by the Fourth of July activities, like the parades and rodeo, but things are changing.

Tina Hoebelheinrich told News 13, “Our September has been brilliant. We’ve seen it continually increase, and the numbers of people who came in the visitor center alone were greater in September than they were in August.”

On a recent visit to Cody, Park Superintendent Dan Wenk said the same thing: shoulder seasons are growing.

In the last two years of record four million plus visitation Wenk said the greatest growth was in April, May, September, and October. He also talked about the Fishing Bridge reconstruction.

“Our preferred alternative is to not have a closure until, I believe, it is October 15th. And the first closure would be potentially in 18.”

That’s 2018. Chamber Director Tina Hoebelheinrich points out the possible earlier Labor Day closure is still in the environmental assessment. She says that would be a disaster for Cody. She’s asking the people of Park County to comment.

“It really does affect us all. So go on, make a comment on how you think this will affect you.”

The deadline for comments is May 26th.