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Posted by Ballpark Frank ( on 10:09:45 05/27/17

In Reply to: West Yellowstone Hotels posted by The Mill

The Mill,

The Bozeman Daily Chronicle ran an article about a planning process under way, led by a consultancy, in West Yellowstone. They have a severe shortage of housing, particularly for seasonal employees. This has been a chronic problem that has existed for decades, and I have seen it impact the quality of service delivered to visitors. There is an 80 acre parcel of land on the west side of town that they are looking at developing.

There are a few potential flies in the ointment. The aquifer that the town relies on for water is dropping quickly. Their solution: drill another well. Yikes! "Let's just accelerate the depletion of the aquifer." There is no mention of searching for alternative water sources. If you have ever been in West Yellowstone in winter, you have a feel for how much snow they receive annually. It would be nice to see someone research creative ways of capturing some of that liquid. Just an example.

Of course, there is the typical mention of a desire to diversify the local economy. I wish them a lot of luck getting that accomplished, given West Yellowstone's distance from other population centers, high transportation costs, and severe winter weather. West Yellowstone owes its existence to its proximity to Yellowstone National Park. Otherwise, you might have a gas station or two, a few lodging establishments, and a restaurant or two, catering to the highway traffic coming up Highway 20 through eastern Idaho, heading for I-90.

If those 80 acres get developed, you might see more lodging for visitors along with housing for seasonal employees. That's the good news. The bad news is the traffic snarls on the West Entrance road late in the day, that sometimes cause bumper to bumper start and stop lines, could get slower and longer. The NPS might have to build a stadium-like structure around Old Faithful to insure visitors all have a view of an eruption.

For anyone interested in more detail on the planning process in West, here is a link you can copy and paste in your browser. The link length parameter on this site will not allow me to use the customary link process. Otherwise, you can just Google "West Yellowstone, Montana growth planning", and it will come right up.


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