BILLINGS — Yellowstone National Park is doing some construction that officials hope will have a big impact on both current and future employees.
The plan is to improve employee housing for the roughly 400 workers who live in park. The housing improvements are much needed and will provide a better quality of life and entice employees to stay on long term, park officials say.
“Our ability to attract and retain talent in Yellowstone is strongly tied to the availability and affordability of housing options in and around the park,” said Superintendent Cam Sholly in a press release from earlier this year. “Thanks to the support of Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt and the National Park Service, we now have the funding and support needed to help us begin addressing one of the biggest issues facing Yellowstone’s workforce."
The plan has several phases, including the rehabilitation of historic buildings and renovating non-historic ones. According to Yellowstone’s Facebook page, the largest phase is currently underway, the replacing of 64 outdated trailers.
Some of these trailers date back to the 1960s and are in very poor condition. They are being replaced by brand new, high-quality modular cabins. These new homes are being constructed off-site and assembled in the park, which saves time and money.
“This project is the first of its kind in the National Park Service,” says Kyle Stone, a civil engineer. “Using modular versus on-site construction means we can build more units, in less time, with lower costs, more sustainably.”
Not only is the park looking to replace outdated housing, but it's also looking at adding new housing capacity, given the lack of available units in the surrounding communities. Since the year 2000, the park has seen a 45% increase in visitors, which has lead to more staffing. More employees means a need for more homes, but any new unit built in the park will be placed in existing developed areas.
The National Park Service expects all trailers to be replaced by 2021 and all renovations to be completed by 2023.
Learn more about the Housing Improvement Project at: nps.gov/yell/learn/management/park-housing.htm