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Yellowstone National Park closed as flooding strands tourists, leaves ‘severely damaged’ infrastructure

William Campbell/Getty Images

(STILLWATER COUNTY, Mt.) -- Historic flooding at Yellowstone National Park continues to leave behind damage, washing out roads and bridges, stranding tourists and cutting off local communities.

At the height of tourist season, the park has had to close all of its entrances because of the flood damage and the northern park gateway is expected to be closed for the rest of the season.

Residents in and around the Pine Crest and Yellowstone Subdivision areas of Montana are still without power, the Stillwater County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement.

In the south-central Montana area, flooding from the Stillwater River left 68 people stranded at the Woodbine Campground, but all individuals were rescued from that area by Stillwater County Emergency Services agencies and crews with the Stillwater Mine on Monday, the Stillwater Police Department told ABC News.

As of Wednesday morning, Stillwater Police told ABC News that they are supplying anyone in the area with lack of access to travel with resources, and they do not believe any other evacuation missions are necessary in the area at this time.

There are currently no reports of injuries among visitors or local residents, but there is possible damage that could result in a loss of homes and structures, authorities said.

In the northern section of Yellowstone, where flood damage proved to be most invasive, a landslide, a bridge washed out over a creek and roads overcome with churning floodwaters from the Gardner and Lamar rivers were shown in photos released by the National Park Service.

In Gardiner, Montana, the flooding cut off road access to the small town of about 900 people, right near the popular North Entrance of the national park.

“The community of Gardiner is currently isolated, and we are working with the county and State of Montana to provide necessary support to residents, who are currently without water and power in some areas,” Park Superintendent Cam Sholly said in a statement.

According to the National Weather Service, the Yellowstone River at Corwin Springs broke a record after its crest reached 13.88 feet on Monday compared to the previous record of 11.5 feet set in 1918.

Tourists and campers in the park had to be rescued by park officials via raft on Tuesday amid the flooding.

Sholly said in the statement that park officials were focused on evacuating the northern part of the park, as roads may remain impassable for “a substantial length of time due to severely damaged, impacted infrastructure.”

However, throughout the park, officials have warned of possible further flooding and potential issues with water supplies and wastewater systems at the park’s developed areas.

The park is still closed to all incoming traffic through Wednesday, and park officials have not yet set a date for reopening for any entrances.

The flooding comes amid the onset of Yellowstone’s busiest tourist season, with an average 3 million visitors coming to the park throughout the summer season.

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