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Holiday Weekend Kicks Off Summer Season in Yellowstone

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Date: May 25, 2006
Contact: Nash, (307) 344-2010
Contact: Vallie, (307) 344-2012

Thousands of people are expected to head to Yellowstone National Park to enjoy the Memorial Day holiday weekend.

Above normal winter snowpack, coupled with spring rains and periods of near record temperatures, have led to higher than normal runoff. Many rivers are running dangerously high and fast. For that reason, swimming areas at Boiling River near Mammoth and the Firehole River along the Firehole Canyon Drive are closed. In fact, it only takes a few inches of fast flowing water to sweep a person off his feet.

The water in many lakes, rivers and streams is also very cold, since they are fed directly by melting snow. Anyone caught in this extremely cold water can quickly experience hypothermia. It only takes a few minutes in water this cold to become disoriented, incoherent, and drown.

The park is encouraging all visitors to use extra caution around the park’s rivers, lakes and streams this weekend.

The latest National Weather Service forecast calls for a chance of thunderstorms Saturday and a chance of rain or snow Saturday night through Memorial Day. Any significant rainfall could increase the amount of water in the rivers and streams and make the situation even more dangerous.

Rain at lower elevations could mean snow in the mountains. Visitors may see snowplows on the road as they travel over the Beartooth Highway and between Canyon and Tower over Dunraven Pass this weekend. Both roads are scheduled to open for the season Friday morning. The East Entrance Road will be open without delays from 8:00 am Friday morning until 8:00 pm Tuesday evening. All other park roads are open for the season. Updated park road information is available by calling 307-344-2117.

Many seasonal visitor services in Yellowstone National Park open for the Memorial Day holiday weekend. Details are available online at www.nps.gov/yell, by consulting the park newspaper handed out at entrance stations, or by asking the staff at park visitor centers and information stations.

Did You Know?

Lake Trout Illustration

Lake trout are an invasive species of fish that is decimating the native cutthroat trout population in Yellowstone Lake.