YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK, Wyo. — First lady Melania Trump canceled her visit to Yellowstone National Park at the last minute on Friday due to an impending storm that might have prevented her from flying back to Washington, D.C.

“They just didn’t want to take any risks with the weather, and that’s the risk of coming here in October,” said park superintendent Cam Sholly. “We look forward to having her back another time.”

During Trump’s visit, she had planned to take a walk on the Old Faithful boardwalk, which is being rebuilt with money from the Department of the Interior. The project was announced when U.S. Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt and Vice President Mike Pence visited Yellowstone in June.

Yellowstone officials had planned to speak with her about education, infrastructure and recent efforts to improve employee housing, Sholly said.

The Secret Service announced the cancellation of the 12:45 p.m. visit at about 10:15 a.m. Pull-offs and a couple of parking lots had been closed in anticipation of Trump’s arrival. Park employees had been called to Upper Geyser Basin and Midway Geyser Basin from other areas to assist with the event, said Phil Basak, Yellowstone’s emergency services coordinator.

To prepare for the visit, Basak said he worked with state and federal law enforcement and briefed park employees to ensure a high level of security while also minimizing the impact on other visitors.

The cost of the cancellation won’t be known for a long time, Sholly said.

The visit to Yellowstone would have been the last stop on Trump’s two-day tour of Wyoming. The trip focused on her “Be Best” initiative, which emphasizes children’s well-being, and was an opportunity to encourage fourth graders to take advantage of the free national parks pass provided through the National Park Service’s “Every Kid Outdoors” program.

Trump flew into Jackson, Wyoming, on Thursday, met briefly with local Boy Scouts and rafted down the Snake River. Trump and Bernhardt then visited Grand Teton National Park on Friday morning with second and fourth graders from Munger Mountain Elementary School — a bilingual school in the Teton County School District.

Instead of traveling to Yellowstone as planned and then flying out of Yellowstone Airport in West Yellowstone, the first lady returned to Jackson for a flight to Washington, D.C., according to the Secret Service.

After park employees learned the first lady had canceled her trip, Yellowstone quickly returned to normal. The Old Faithful Visitor Education Center was bustling, and dozens of people walked around Upper Geyser Basin. As the 11:55 a.m. eruption of Old Faithful neared, people rushed to the boardwalk through steady snowfall to watch.

The Yellowstone Forever Park Store in the visitor center received a steady stream of customers throughout the morning despite the planned visit from the first lady, said Abby McCarthy, park store lead. There was a larger impact during Bernhardt and Pence’s visit, including the closure of the visitor center.

“This is pretty typical for Yellowstone and for Old Faithful, specifically, because they are the gems of the parks,” she said. “For us, this has pretty much been just another day.”

Perrin Stein can be reached at 406-582-2648 or at Follow her on Twitter @PerrinStein.

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