Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte on Friday told people not to cancel their summer plans at Yellowstone National Park after severe flooding struck the popular vacation spot this week.
“Here’s a very simple message for people that have planned trips to Yellowstone Park: we’re open, you got to come,” Gianforte said during a press event with state and local officials. “There’s so much to do in Montana. The vitality of our communities depend on it and your families need what we have in Montana.”
Officials said they plan to reopen the southern portion of the park by next week after some repairs had been made to the “southern loop,” though they did not go into detail as to what the repairs would entail.
“We’ve all collectively got a good plan for how we can kind of reopen half the park and still keep the economic vibrancy in these gateway communities,” an official from the National Park Service said.
The governor championed the work that has been done over the last week by federal, state and local officials to help Montanans impacted by the flooding.
Gianforte said there were still basements full of mud and homes that had been washed away by the historic floods.
“But we’re committed to rebuild this,” he said.
Miles of roads and hundreds of bridges were reportedly damaged by the massive 500-year flood after heavy rainfall and melting mountain snow accumulated over the weekend.
The Yellowstone River earlier this week flowed at a historically high level of 16 feet and threatened Montana’s largest city, Billings.
Officials said no one had been killed or seriously injured in the floods.
Gianforte on Tuesday issued a “state of disaster” and officials appealed for federal emergency assistance that was granted by President Biden earlier this week.