Aug 28, 2015

Yellowstone's East Entrance temporarily closes after discovery of unexploded ordnance

UPDATED: The East Entrance to Yellowstone National Park was closed for a short time on Friday while crews removed an unexploded ordnance from Sylvan Pass.

The road closed around 3:30 p.m. after the explosive was discovered near the road and was able to be reopened several hours later.

The East Entrance closed for a few hours. File photo courtesy Jay Elhard, National Park Service
Explosives are regularly used on Sylvan Pass in the winter months to trigger avalanches under controlled conditions, said Julena Campbell, a public affairs officer for Yellowstone.

“Occasionally, one doesn’t go off, and they do a controlled search for those each spring when the snow melts, and they go out and look for any that have not exploded,” Campbell said. “They take care of those before they open the road to visitors. But occasionally, they miss one.”

She added that things like melting snow and small landslides also can uncover ordnances.

“It’s not uncommon to have a few out there,” Campbell said.

A team from Malmstrom Air Force Base in Great Falls, Montana, responded to Sylvan Pass to destroy the device. Things apparently went according to plan.

“When we got the news, they said it would be closed for a couple of hours,” Campbell said while the gate was closed. “Obviously, it’s not something you can really control.”

For road updates, visit www.nps.gov/yell/planyourvisit/parkroads.htm.

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