Friends, this has been a very strange and sad week for the Yellowstone River and its surrounding communities. Here at Dan Bailey’s we are devastated by the flooding and destruction it has brought on our friends, neighbors and local community. It’s likely the true impact is still a ways away from being uncovered as the flood waters recede and we all start picking up.
As it stands right now, the Yellowstone River has come down a lot since its peak on Monday night. The USGS gauge here in town was damaged in the flood and is currently offline - hopefully that means they are fixing it. All the rivers in Montana are running high right now and about the only fishable water is on the Missouri around Craig.
The river remains closed to all traffic, so don’t even think about floating, fishing, or anything. It’s still a dangerous situation. Yesterday, the NFS issued an emergency closure of the Custer Gallatin National Forest until June 24 or the situation improves, whichever comes first. Call the shop for more details.
As of this time all entrances to Yellowstone National Park remain closed, and our local North Entrance in Gardiner has little hope of opening for the foreseeable future. See the news release here.
The Park County Community Foundation has partnered with Greater Gallatin United Way to create a Southwest Montana Flood Relief Fund to help those affected by this disaster. You can learn more and please donate if you can on the PCCF website here.
While our focus has been primarily on the Yellowstone River there are many places in the state that have been affected by it. The towns of Red Lodge, Cooke City and Silvergate, the Stillwater River.. The list goes on and on. This has been devastating for so many.
One of the most common questions we’ve been getting is how can people help. It’s heartwarming to see so many people wanting to pitch in. Locally, you can text 211 for information on where to volunteer, check with the town or the food resource center, or call your friends who might need some help. If you’re out of town, please consider donating to the PCCF fund or go directly to the source and order things from your favorite Montana business. Small businesses are unfortunately going to be severely affected, and even small orders like a hat and stickers goes a long way.
We are getting a lot of questions about how the Yellowstone River is going to be affected by this, and at this point we just don’t know. The fact of the matter is that the Yellowstone is one of the last great undammed freestone rivers and this is just a part of nature. The flood will change channels, remove debris, and reshape the river. It will be an entirely new body of water when we are on it again next month.
The fish are still here, they’ve been through much worse throughout their history on the Yellowstone. The waters will get back to normal flow, the mud will dissipate and fish will be eating again. What makes the Yellowstone River so special hasn’t changed.
We are proud to be part of such an amazing community here in Livingston and beyond. We will bounce back, things will return to normal (although normal is a moving target these days), and we will rebuild.