East gate opens earlier for snowmobiles
December 17, 2020
CODY (WNE) – For the last two decades snowmobile enthusiasts have been gaining ground as far as access to Yellowstone National Park.
They will now get 20 extra days to access Yellowstone in the winter from the East Entrance.
It’s an effort Dede Fales, co-owner of Gary Fales Outfitting, has lobbied for extensively.
On Wednesday, the Park announced it will bump up its opening date for the gate from Dec. 22 to Tuesday. In the spring, the Entrance will now close on March 15 instead of the prior date of March 2. The change of dates will now align the East Entrance to the seasonal openings and closures occurring at the Park’s other gates, thus standardizing the winter season in the Park.
The one exception is the road from the Park’s North Entrance at Gardiner through Mammoth Hot Springs to Cooke City. This road is plowed and open to automobiles all year.
All openings and closures will be subject to weather conditions.
In the past, avalanche concerns on Sylvan Pass led to a different operating season for the east gate, but “with many years of implementation, the NPS now has the operational capacity and expertise to safely open the pass on December 15 and to keep it open until March 15,” Yellowstone announced in an October release.
For Cody’s only snowmobile guide company, Gary Fales Outfitting, it could provide a substantial increase in business, with 20 more days to serve clients and make money each year.
Park regulations state that snowmobiles lose their certification after about six years of use, meaning Fales and her husband Gary will now get about 120 more commercial days out of each sled.