WEST YELLOWSTONE — Yellowstone National Park's Montana entrances will be able to reopen on June 1, and for business owners in West Yellowstone, that breathes life back into their businesses.
“It’s hard not to get emotional about it because it’s our livelihood and it’s the vacation experience and the things that Yellowstone brings to people,” said Garrett Ostler.
Ostler owns The Madison Hotel, the oldest hotel in West Yellowstone, and he never experienced a drought like the one caused by the closure of the national park.
“It’s devastating to businesses, absolutely devastating. We only have customers when there’s a reason for them to be here,” Ostler said.
Yellowstone National Park closed indefinitely in mid-March and things around the neighboring town have been impacted.
“It’s deader than we’ve ever seen,” said Ostler.
“When Yellowstone is closed, West Yellowstone is kind of like a ghost town,” said Clyde Seely who owns the Three Bear Lodge in town – which he’s looking forward to the reopening.
“Starting later in the season is always difficult, but we’ll adapt, we always do,” he said.
While the businesses plan to adapt to the changes the delayed closure caused, it won’t make up for the business that’s been lost during the shutdown.
“We started with about 130 reservations in May at the beginning of March and I have two guests that are going to stay with us now,” Ostler explained.
“Cancellations have been tremendous. Reservations are still coming in but for later in the summer,” Seely said.
Not being able to participate in the upcoming holiday hurts even more, “it’d be wonderful to be open this weekend for Memorial weekend," Ostler said.
Now business owners are waiting to hear from the Superintendent of the park on the official reopening date and time.