Plowing the Inner Park Loop Road in Grand Teton National Park

Grand Teton National Park employee Adam Mates manually turns the plow’s huge rotor during a stop to replace a shear bolt while plowing Teton Park Road in 2014. 

Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks are transitioning into the off-season and beginning to scrape a winter’s worth of snow off of interior roads.

Winter access through Yellowstone’s South Gate via snow coach or snowmobile ends at 9 p.m. Sunday.

All of the interior Yellowstone roads will close the same day and will stay closed to motorized vehicles until April 17 at the earliest, weather permitting. Once roads are cleared of snow and melted out, there is a shoulder-season stretch when routes are open to cyclists and pedestrians.

Grand Teton National Park, meanwhile, starts its own plowing operation on Teton Park Road on Monday. The 14 miles of road that are groomed in winter, between Taggart Lake trailhead and the Signal Mountain area, become completely off-limits to afford rotary and blade plows space.

Once Teton Park Road is cleared of snow, it opens up to cyclists, skaters, runners and dog walkers.

Grand Teton National Park on Wednesday also announced plans to open up its first visitor center of the year: the Craig Thomas Discovery Center in Moose, which will open as scheduled April 15.

As of Thursday afternoon, the coronavirus outbreak had not yet influenced any planned openings or operations of visitor services in Teton park, spokeswoman Denise Germann said.

Same goes, for now, for Yellowstone, spokeswoman Morgan Warthin said Friday.

“We are no different than the rest of the U.S., and we are talking about, planning for and thinking of a response,” Warthin said. “But at this point in time, all national parks are open.”

Contact Mike Koshmrl at 732-7067 or env@jhnewsandguide.com.

Mike has reported on the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem's wildlife, wildlands and the agencies that manage them since 2012. A native Minnesotan, he arrived in the West to study environmental journalism at the University of Colorado.

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