Montana governor: Don’t cancel Yellowstone vacation plans after flooding

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.”

Greg Gianforte

FILE – Greg Gianforte meets with members of the business and environmental community at Chico Hot Springs below Emigrant Peak on Oct. 10, 2018, in Pray, Montana. (Getty Images / Getty Images)

MONTANA GOV. GIANFORTE VACATIONED IN ITALY AS SEVERE FLOODING STRUCK YELLOWSTONE

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.

Montana restaurant operator Yokie Johnson cleans tables after flooding hit her state

Yokie Johnson cleans tables at the end of the night at MontAsia, the restaurant she runs with her husband in Fishtail, Mont., Thursday, June 16, 2022. The main road into Fishtail was washed away by the recent floodwaters and Johnson worries the lack (AP Photo/David Goldman / AP Newsroom)

Flooding hits Yellowstone National Park in Montana

Flooding is seen on June 14, 2022, in Livingston, Montana. The Yellowstone River hit has a historic high flow from rain and snow melt from the mountains in and around Yellowstone National Park.  (William Campbell/Getty Images / Getty Images)

Yellowstone National Park

High water levels in the Gardner River erode Yellowstone National Park’s North Entrance Road, where the park was closed due to heavy flooding, rockslides, extremely hazardous conditions near Gardiner, Montana, U.S. June 13, 2022.  (National Park Service/Handout via REUTERS / Reuters)

YELLOWSTONE FLOOD: PHOTOS SHOW DAMAGE AS SURROUNDING COMMUNITIES ASSESS ECONOMIC IMPACT

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. 

yellowstone bridge worker

A highway worker inspects a washed out bridge along the Yellowstone River Wednesday, June 15, 2022, near Gardiner, Mont. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer / Associated Press)

Flooding washed away a road in Nye, Montana

The main entrance to the Stillwater mine is cut off after the road was washed away by rising floodwaters near Nye, Mont., Thursday, June 16, 2022.  (AP Photo/David Goldman / AP Newsroom)

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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. 

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