Tourists from around the world waited to finally get into Yellowstone National Park after flood damage closed the Park for nine days, gathering in West Yellowstone, Jackson, and Cody, Wyoming.
Visitors in Cody were excited to finally see the world's first national park after they traveled hundreds of miles to get there.
Since last Monday, people who drove to Yellowstone’s east entrance saw several "Park Closed" signs, a clear message that the park was not open. The visitors didn't know if, or when, it would open.
Yellowstone’s east entrance is 52 miles from Cody. The gateway community has endured temporary closures before, because of wildfires and mudslides.
"For me, it’s very easy to come at this from an attitude of gratitude. So, I am super excited that the park will be open tomorrow. And that we will be seeing folks guaranteed the opportunity to go in one of two days," said Tina Hoebelheinrich, CEO of Cody's Chamber of Commerce, on Tuesday.
Yellowstone officials announced a system to prevent overcrowding of the park, since only the south loop will be open at first. Visitors were well aware only even-numbered license plates will be admitted on even days, like Wednesday, June 22, and cars with odd-numbered plates will be admitted on odd dates, like Thursday, June 23.
“We’re just at this point hoping that we get in the park. Since we’ve traveled from Alabama to here, and with gas prices and everything, it would be nice to see Yellowstone this time,” a visitor from Alabama, Terry Zills, said.
A 17-year-old Girl Scout from Oregon, Mackenzie Devereaux, remarked, “Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons have always been on my bucket list, and so having to wait was a little bit disappointing. However, I’m still very grateful that we get to go at all.”
Some Cody area businesses suffered cancellations. But the town and its attractions seemed to be pretty busy, even while Yellowstone was closed.
“We had folks post pictures on a local chapter of Facebook yesterday just of their trip up the North Fork. And it was bears, buffalo, elk, sheep. Our animals don’t know where the boundaries are,” Hoebelheinrich said,
The east, south and west entrances open at 8 a.m. Wednesday.