Nature News from GYE #38

June 30, 2022
The downpour started to fall late June 11 this year and it didn’t let up for 2 days. Monday morning I went into the main part of town in West Yellowstone and the cars were lined up farther than I could see in all directions. Later that morning, I was told those were vehicles waiting to get into the gate, but it had closed. Unprecedeted… and it took hours to let eveyone know they had to turn around. Later the news came about roads and bridges washed out and damage to personal property in many cases. In my time here, I don’t remember anything quite like this.
Chances are good you have heard stories, seen photos or videos and know a bit about how the park opened finally June 22 with limited access each day.

GARDINER, MT – JUNE 15 photo by the National Park Service

This Saturday, July 2, the northern part of the park opens with the exception of the access from Gardiner to Mammoth and Lamar Valley ( Tower Junction) to Cooke City. The Park Service did an exceptional job managing the first weeks of this dramatic flood event and they have been good about keeping the surrounding communities informed.

flooding in Lamar Valley by NPS

All of this happened after a record year for Yellowstone visitation in 2021 when pushing five million visitors traveled to and through Yellowstone. This year the park planned events celebrating it’s 150th birthday. A historic gathering of tribal nations is scheduled for August in Gardiner. It is uncertain how that will come together as very few can access Mammoth from this Northern Border community. Plans are still moving forward to make this happen.

multi tribal encampment in Bozeman Oct 2021

More than 16 different tribes planned to converge, teepees were going to be erected, with the hope a start of a new era in which areas of the park’s age-old connections to native peoples were to be acknowledged and honored. 

Yellowstone has certainly experienced natural disasters through time, but this is one of the worst in recent decades. The park will be altered a bit and will heal, but the impact on communities has been deep. My personal schedule has changed a bit with some guiding trips canceling, but overall, it’s been minimal.

The big balancing act is taking care of communities at the same time as protecting the resource….
Below is a great article focusing on big picture thinking around events like this.

Lots of green green as a result of the moisture and flowers blooming have been sensational.

A few photos for you

Black Butte in the distance wth Blue Flax and Scenecio

Gallatin River with Blue Flax and Phacelia
Calypso Orchid (Ladies Slipper)
Cushion Phlox
Fringed Gentian/Yellowstone Park Flower
Arrowleaf Balsamroot

Sending best wishes to all for a safe Independence Day,


  1. Jeff Wingfield

    Hi Leslie:

    Thank you for the update on the horrific damage in the park. We hope you escaped any impact at home.

    Jeff and Lee
    Wilmington, NC

  2. Wonderful flower photos! Thanks!

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