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Lyman WDOT employees to help crack open Yellowstone

Posted: Thursday, Apr 4th, 2013


Pioneer Editor

LYMAN – Starting April 1, plowing crews began plowing toward Canyon Village and resumed plowing efforts in the Old Faithful area.

The Wyoming Department of Transportation also began plowing operations at the East Entrance.

Several tons of heavy equipment rumbled to life at the East Gate of Yellowstone National Park on Monday, April 1, as workers began what is expected to be a month long effort to remove snow on the road between the park’s eastern boundary and Fishing Bridge, according to a report in the Billings Gazette.

“Road workers rarely begin their day to a round of applause like that heard Monday, but they also typically aren’t driving rigs sporting promotional banners and flags positioned in easy view of a group of waiting reporters and local officials.

“Federal budget cuts mandated by the congressional cost-cutting deal known as the sequester have put National Park Service plows on a delayed schedule, so the big iron now moving into Yellowstone from Cody, Wyo., is being funded by local business owners and public entities.”

“It would be difficult to predict how far Wyoming crews will get, or where they might meet up with Park Service teams, but the idea is for WYDOT workers to go as far as possible toward Fishing Bridge.” Billings Gazette

The chambers of commerce from Jackson and Cody took Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead at his word and found cash to pay the Wyoming Department of Transportation (WYDOT) to plow the south and east entrances of Yellowstone.

There are nearly 200 miles of primary road, almost 125 miles of secondary roads and 125 acres of parking lots that need to be plowed before Yellowstone can open to vehicles this spring.

Earlier, National Park Service officials had warned that a major delay in the openings would occur due to federal budget cuts in the congressional sequester. Park officials decided to delay snow plowing in an effort to save up to $250,000 out of a total of $1.75 million in cuts required, a move that would have delayed opening the East Gate by two weeks.

"This is a uniquely Wyoming solution that benefits the entire country because it gives the public the access to Yellowstone it has typically enjoyed. Yellowstone is spectacular, one of the crown jewels of the National Park System, and we want all to be able to experience its many wonders as they have in the past," Governor Matt Mead said in a news release. "

Lon Richardson, DOT maintenance supervisor in Lyman, said Tuesday morning “this week, I am sending two employees as dozer operators” to Yellowstone to help with opening the park’s roads. He declined to name the two employees.

Richardson anticipated the two employees would be in Yellowstone for two to three weeks, depending on the amount of snow that needed to be moved to open the roads. Due to the “snow-melts and warmer temperatures,” Richardson said he was estimating the job would take that amount of time.

For the complete article see the 04-05-2013 issue.

Click here to purchase an electronic version of the 04-05-2013 paper.

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