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Yellowstone to Weigh Climate Change Risks When Rebuilding From Flood

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A Yellowstone National Park ranger near a road wiped out by flooding along the Gardner River this month.Credit…Matthew Brown/Associated Press HELENA, Mont. — In the shadow of hills and rock walls, the north entrance road at Yellowstone National Park normally traces the river, ferrying visitors from the outside world to a very different one teeming with wildlife and otherworldly geothermal features.

But large chunks of pavement are now gone on this crucial tourist corridor, washed away in a vicious May storm that swelled the Gardner River and sent mud and rocks racing down hillsides. Some road stretches were obliterated or left with half a lane — if that — with jagged edges that made it seem as if the river had taken big bites of asphalt.

In its 150th year, Yellowstone, the country’s oldest national park, finds itself at an existential crossroads in an age of climate change. It will rebuild after the flood damage, which has forced the two northern entrances to close for months. But the question is how, especially given the likelihood that flash floods, drought, wildfires and heat will dramatically change how the park can operate.

“We have a good sense of what’s coming down the line for […]

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