Morning Glory Pool, Yellowstone National Park.

Support Local Journalism


Even if the federal government shuts down tonight at midnight, the gate to Yellowstone National Park will remain open. 

There just won't be as many park employees around.

Heather Swift, a spokeswoman for the Department of the Interior, said in an email Friday that the department expects the government will remain open. But if it doesn't, she said, national parks and other public lands "will remain as accessible as possible while still following all applicable laws and procedures." 

Vicki Regula, a Yellowstone spokeswoman, said in an email Friday afternoon that Yellowstone's "government-run operations and facilities" would close as soon as Saturday morning. That means places like the Horace M. Albright Visitor Center near Mammoth Hot Springs wouldn't be open to the public. 

Snowplows will run and drivers will still have access to the road between Mammoth and Cooke City. Commercial snowmobile and snowcoach tours will continue, but Regula said non-commercially guided snowmobile trips wouldn't be allowed.

She also said areas could be closed off if they become dangerous, and that the park will have limited ability to respond to emergencies. 

Xanterra Parks and Resorts announced in a news release earlier on Friday that its hotels and stores would remain open in the event of a shutdown.  

According to a shutdown plan for the National Park Service, immediately following a shutdown employees will have to notify the public of the shutdown and secure government records and property. Slightly more than 21,000 employees would be furloughed nationwide. Almost 3,300 would keep working. 

Of the ones who would keep working, 777 would be employees in the Intermountain Region, which includes parks in Montana, Wyoming, Utah, Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas. 

Support Local Journalism

To see what else is happening in Gallatin County subscribe to the online paper.

Michael Wright can be reached at or at 582-2638. Follow him on Twitter @mj_wright1. 

Support quality local journalism. Become a subscriber.

Subscribers get full, survey-free access to the Bozeman Daily Chronicle's award-winning coverage both on our website and in our e-edition, a digital replica of the print edition.