Yellowstone Park Geyser Area Closed

From the Livingstone Enterprise on July 23, 2003 published in Park County in Livingstone, Montana

By Enterprise Staff

A portion of Norris Geyser Basin in Yellowstone National Park was temporarily closed Wednesday, July 23, because of high ground temperatures and steam from increased thermal activity.

The more popular features in Norris Geyser Basin, including Steamboat and Echinus Geysers and all of Porcelain Basin, remain open to the public. The basin is on the west side of the park 22 miles south of Mammoth Hot Springs.

The temporary closure is signed and covers most of the western portion of the Back Basin trail starting at the Norris Museum. Approximately 5,800 feet of trails are closed with the remaining 6,700 feet still open.

Norris is the hottest and most seismically active geyser basin in Yellowstone. Activities in the basin noted since July 11 include formation of new mud pots; an eruption of Porkchop Geyser, which has been dormant since 1989; and the draining of several geysers, creating steam vents and significantly increased measured ground temperatures of up to 200 degrees.

Additional observations include vegetation dying due to thermal activity and the changing of several geysers’ eruption intervals.

This is the first time in recent memory a geyser area has been closed, according to YNP spokeswoman Cheryl Matthews.

“No one can remember a closure before this. We’d have to go to the archives to see,” she said. “There might have been a short, temporary closure when Porkchop (Geyser) exploded in 1989.”