Yellowstone Flooding Rebuild Cost Billions And Could Take Years

Yellowstone Flood Rebuild Cost Billion (8)

Yellowstone was the first of the national parks to earn the title “America’s best idea,” and it was established in 1872, as the country was emerging from the Civil War. The country’s most abundant and diverse animals, as well as gushing geysers, thundering waterfalls, and other natural wonders, are now facing their worst challenge in decades.

As the park’s 150th-anniversary celebration was entering its busiest season, floodwaters destroyed a number of bridges, washed down kilometers of roadways, and forced its closure. As the Yellowstone River and its tributaries raged, nearby settlements were swamped, flooding hundreds of homes.

Yellowstone Flooding Rebuild Cost Billions And Could Take Years

Yellowstone officials are still calculating the extent of the damage, but based on prior national park calamities, it could take years and cost more than US$1 billion to reconstruct in an environmentally sensitive area where work season only lasts from the spring thaw until the initial snowfall.

According to what park authorities have disclosed and pictures and video shot from a helicopter by the Associated Press, the roadways, notably the one that connects the park’s offices in Mammoth Hot Springs to its north entrance in Gardiner, Montana, appeared to have sustained the most damage. 

The Gardner River overflowed iYellowstone Flooding Rebuild Cost Billions And Could Take Years banks, undercutting and washing away significant stretches of the road. It’s possible that hundreds of footbridges on trails were destroyed or damaged.

Yellowstone Flooding Rebuild Cost Billions And Could Take Years

Superintendent Cam Sholly highlighted pictures of enormous cracks in the road earlier in the week and stated, “This is not going to be an easy rebuild.” I don’t believe it will be wise to spend potentially tens of millions of dollars, or however much it is, on fixing a road that might see a similar flooding incident in the future.

Yellowstone Flooding Rebuild Cost Billions And Could Take Years

Restoring human traces in a national park is never an easy task, especially in light of the increased likelihood of catastrophic calamities brought on by climate change. There are more and more severe wildfires, including one that ravaged Lassen Volcanic National Park in Northern California last year, destroying bridges, lodges, and other infrastructure.

It is produced by an unusual naturally occurring arrangement of underground tunnels and vents that force the hot water to the surface, and it is only one of several.

Along with the formation itself, the ecosystem is home to microorganisms and insects that flourish in a setting that is virtually unheard of elsewhere. The park must also take care not to harm any cultural or archaeological objects in the region with a long Native American past.

Yellowstone Flooding Rebuild Cost Billions And Could Take Years

In addition to doing this job correctly, Hartl added, “they’re going to try to go quite quickly.” They will have to consider all the resources the park is intended to safeguard.

To better preserve the river and the fish and other creatures that live there from oil and other tiny pollution brought on by passing motorists, Hartl suggested rerouting the road that hugged the Gardner River.

Yellowstone Flooding Rebuild Cost Billions And Could Take Years

The recovery of Yellowstone comes as the number of people waiting in line to visit the nation’s national parks is rising quickly, despite the fact that the backlog of unpaid maintenance costs is now in the tens of billions of dollars. 

The Great American Outdoors Act, a piece of legislation that Congress will enact in 2020 and allocates around $3 billion for upkeep and other projects on public lands, was already due to provide cash for the park.

More urgent repairs are now required, and Emily Douce, director of operations and park funding at the National Parks Conservation Association, estimated that the cost of those repairs might be at least $1 billion.

The roughly 466 miles (750 km) of roads that run through the park require extensive maintenance. According to Kristen Brengel, senior vice-president of public affairs at the National Parks Conservation Association, a significant portion of the route was initially built for stagecoaches.


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