There was an electrifying, intense energy all throughout West Yellowstone on Monday.
“You have life in you. You feel good. You feel like you can move forward because this is one thing. Normality has come back into our lives. Let’s put it that way,” said Marilyn Parker, the owner of Al's Westward Ho Motel.
“It’s just totally awesome. What’s great is knowing that the park opened today, seeing a small line form,” exclaimed Garrett Ostler, the owner of West Yellowstone's oldest hotel, the Madison Hotel.
“I’m really not sure what to expect. It’s going to be really exciting, you know. It’s going to be different,” said Kelley McCauley, the owner of Timberline Cafe.
Different, but exciting seemed to be the agreement here at West Yellowstone and this town has been through a lot within the past couple of weeks.
“Sorry I get a little teary eyed. It’s just been horrible for everybody involved,” explained Leanne Reinsch whose family has owned businesses in West Yellowstone for more than 30 years.
West Yellowstone primarily relies on tourism and traffic from the park to generate the local economy, but by the park being closed longer than normal, it really hurt businesses and the residents who live here.
“I know it’s hard on them, and I know they’ll never make up for the lost time of being closed but I just wishing everybody the best,” Reinsch said.
But now life has been brought back as visitors flock to the town because of the park.
“I’ve seen a lot of people come by, a lot of RV’s,” said Reinsch.
“Traffic has increased here in town, so it’s a real wonderful thing to see the world come back to life and come back to Yellowstone and experience this,” Ostler explained.
Monday was truly an unforgettable experience for this town.