RS: Was anything else in the park damaged?
Zack: The Gardiner canyon by far was the worst of it. Surprisingly, given the time of year and the number of people in the park, there was no loss of human life.
RS: What's it like now?
Zack: The park has 93 percent of its 466 road miles open. Visitation is down compared to the last couple of years because of the cancellations. The park seems quieter this year compared to the last several record-breaking years for visitation, so it’s really an ideal time to visit.
RS: What's the outlook for the future? Are there permanent changes?
Zack: The road from Gardiner to Mammoth will need to be rebuilt; it may take years for the new permanent road to be constructed as I hear they are planning on moving it out of Gardiner Canyon. But much has been done to get a temporary road up and going for administrative and worker traffic, as well as some commercial traffic. The temporary road will not be accessible for personal vehicle traffic most likely at all this season.
RS: How are Road Scholar programs affected now? Will participants be able to still experience the main highlights or do the programs have significant changes?
Zack: I can only speak for our programs, but we have moved several to West Yellowstone, or starting and ending in Bozeman. We recently gained access to leave via smaller vehicles from Gardiner for a few of our learning adventures, which is very limited each day. But things are changing quickly and more and more is opening up as construction crews complete their projects. All of the major features are still open: Old Faithful, Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, Tower Fall, Yellowstone Lake and more. There may be some longer travel times, and some day to day itinerary changes, but all the big sites are still accessible.