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Avalanche activity briefly closes East Entrance

Dangerous avalanche conditions put a crimp in the opening day of the East Entrance of Yellowstone National Park .

Yellowstone officials temporarily closed the east gate for roughly three hours on Friday because of "avalanche activity" in Sylvan Pass, a few miles inside the park's eastern boundary. Travelers should call 307-344-2117 for updates on the road's status.

The eastern gate opened for the summer season at 8 a.m. Friday, with drivers prohibited from stopping in Sylvan Pass because of the snow conditions.

National Park Service officials had warned Thursday that the deep snow in the pass had the potential to release large, heavy and wet slides that could reach the road and limit travel.

"Yellowstone avalanche forecasters are closely monitoring the weather, snowpack, moisture, and all of the complex factors that go into determining the safety of travel across Sylvan Pass," the Park Service said in Thursday's news release. "Changing weather conditions or warmer temperatures may result in temporary or extended closures of the East Entrance road. Closures may be implemented at any time with little or no advance notice."

The park service said the potential for travel disruptions could last for several weeks until more snow melts and the snowpack stabilzes.

Friday's closure was announced via Yellowstone's official Twitter account shortly after 3 p.m., with the announcement of its re-opening coming a little before 6:30 p.m.

Similar snow conditions caused the park service to close the East Entrance for a week and a half in 2008 and limit travel to cooler time periods for another two weeks after that. The gate opened to unrestricted travel on June 6, 2008.

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2 comments

  • posted by Nita Kaye Tootsdatter

    May 03, 2014 7:07 am

    then why are the entrances open so early if they are not safe??

  • posted by Christine Wickelman

    May 02, 2014 9:53 pm

    And so John is happy as a lark spending the night in the park if the gate doesn't open. What a thrill to say to his wife "I am stranded" in the most beautiful place on earth watching a grizzly bear near the lake. Totally surprised me when he showed up at home. He just could not wait to look at his camera bag of goodies on the computer. There is nothing like living close to Heavenly Father's most special place.

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