YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK, Wyo. — Yesterday, the South, East and West entrances to Yellowstone National Park reopened following disastrous floods in the region.
The park has implemented an alternating license plate system (ALPS), “to ensure the south loop does not become overwhelmed with visitors and to balance park resource protection and economic interests of surrounding communities.”
ALPS is based on the last numerical digit on the license plate. License plates with an odd-numbered last digit can enter on odd days of the month and plates with an even numbered last digit, including zero, can enter on even days of the month.
Personalized plates will use the last numerical digit on the plate to determine entrance days and personalized plates without numbers will be allowed to enter on odd days.
Motorcycle groups traveling together, with license plates that don’t correspond, can enter on even dates only.
Bicyclists and visitors on foot are also exempt from ALPS.
The system still applies to large non-commercial groups traveling together in multiple vehicles.
According to the park’s website, The National Park Service will monitor the system and its implications and may adjust or implement a reservation or timed entry system at any time. The NPS and reservation.gov are also building a reservation system so it is ready if needed.
Yesterday afternoon, the park released information about the first day of the new system.
Less than 5,000 vehicles have entered the south loop today – normally it is 10,000 or more vehicles. Less than 1% of vehicles had to be turned around due to having the wrong license plate, according to the press release.
“While it’s too early to tell if the license plate system worked, it appears to have done its job by cutting our normal traffic counts by half,” said Superintendent Cam Sholly. “As we’ve discussed with our community partners, we will monitor this together and make adjustments if necessary. We’re happy to have visitors back in Yellowstone and appreciate the patience of the public and community partners as we continue working through this difficult situation.”