Yellowstone National Park Officials Reviewing Proposal To Boost Lodging At Old Faithful

Trying to land a room for the night at the Old Faithful area in Yellowstone National Park is never an easy task if you wait until the last minute.

In a move that could help improve your odds, slightly, park officials are reviewing a proposal that would provide more overnight lodging there. But it would require that a 77-room dormitory be built.

According to a release from the park, the plan now under consideration would "improve visitor experience and employee housing in one of Yellowstone's most visited areas, while preserving the historic character of the area."

"... at least one alternative allows existing Old Faithful Lodge cabin units that currently house park concessioner staff to be made available for overnight visitor use," the release added. "The units are some of the most affordable lodging in the park. That alternative would also call for the construction of a new 77-room dormitory in the Old Faithful administrative area to house up to 144 employees displaced by the change. The 28 multiplex cabins consisting of 67 units accommodates approximately 140 overnight visitors."

Many questions remain about this proposal, ranging from who would pay for the proposed dormitory to how much land would be necessary for it and whether stands of lodgepole would have to be removed to make room for it. The cabins that would go into the nightly rental pool if this proposal is approved would be Frontier and Budget models, which would rent for about $75-$80 per night, according to park officials.

Public comments on the proposal are being accepted by Yellowstone officials through December 20 at this site. A scoping newsletter with a more detailed overview of the plan, along with instructions on how to submit comments, can be found on that page.

A hard copy of the newsletter can also be requested by calling (307) 344-2017, or by writing to the Old Faithful Dormitory Construction and Cabin Repurposing Plan, Attention: Compliance Office, National Park Service, P.O. Box 168, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming 82190.

Suggestions and concerns may be submitted through the website, in person or by mail, and must be received or postmarked by midnight MST, December 20, 2011. Comments will not be accepted by phone, fax, or e-mail, and submitted responses may be made publicly available at any time.

Comments

I really like it when the park service sticks to their mission of preservation.

Have they considered putting a campground or RV park (a la Fishing Bridge) near OF instead? I would think it would be less expensive & may free up some lodging. I've always been curious as to why there is no camping available in the OF area, since all the other 'village areas' have a campground. Can anyone enlighten me?

A campground would make too much sense. NPS is into buliding huge buildings designed with the largest footprint available (new OF VC, "Justice" Center, Heritage and Resource Center). Also, the YNP experience is made sweet by having a core group of people that have lived here for years, investing their lives for little pay. One of the minimum benefits is having a cabin (drafty, old, creaky as they are). Now, they will take that away. It's never been about personell, anyway. More cabins = more congestion. Great.

There was a campground at OF back in the 1960's and before. But when the new four lane "Interstate Highway" bypass was built, the campground was paved over.

However, disturbed as we were with the Interstate and interchange, I have to admit the situation is much, much better than the days when the main loop road ran between the Inn and ranger station and the geyser. You think there are traffic problems there now, you should have been there in the old days! Today the old road is now the walking trail that runs from the Inn and lower Ham's Store toward Morning Glory Pool, Castle and other geysers downstream north of the developed area.

I think I remember, too, that back then a decision was made not to rebuild a camp at OF because they said it would create too much congestion. But I'm not really sure my memory of that is completely accurate.

When you plan a trip to Yellowstone National Park, do it early, and you will not have a problem. Leave the park as it is!

Ironic that this comes on the heels of the "Vital Signs" report reflecting concerns of over crowding at YNP

After seeing the type of housing Xanterra puts their employees in, I'd feel sorry for the Yellowstone employees if they were forced into a dorm (although I don't know what it's like to live in the cabins). My fiance works for Xanterra and the dorm situation is horrible. They don't provide AC or heat and often the behavior of the other employees living in the dorm make living there almost unbearable.

"...who would pay for the proposed dormitory..." Um, duh, this is entirely benefiting Xanterra, so Xanterra should foot the bill. Besides, if you put it in the NPS budget (with all the congressional chopping going on in the near future) it would be comleted sometime between 2112 and the end of days!

Most assuredly won't be funded by Xanterra, I believe. It's my view that if Xanterra did finance the construction it would most likely give them leverage in their contract negotiations making it a requirement for any competitive bidder to purchase their equity as part of their bid. Something that NPS, I believe, is attempting to overcome in other Parks where Xanterra has an equity interest in facilities.