Yellowstone National Park Officials Decide To Boost Lodging At Old Faithful Complex

Nearly 70 small cabins that have been used to house concessionaire employees are to be converted for nightly rental use under a plan approved by National Park Service officials. NPS photo.

Nearly 70 more nightly rooms eventually will be available in the Old Faithful area at Yellowstone National Park as National Park Service officials have agreed to convert 67 cabins from concessionaire employee housing to rental units.

As part of the deal, a dormitory will be built to house concessionaire employees in the area.

A Finding of No Significant Impact allowing repurposing the cabins to provide an increased number of affordable visitor lodging units at Old Faithful and construction of the employee dormitory for displaced employees was signed by Park Service Intermountain Region Director John Wessels earlier this week.

An Environmental Assessment that analyzed three alternatives was released for public review and comment in January 2012.

Among the highlights of the approved preferred alternative:

* Provide for additional affordable lodging options in Yellowstone.

* Rehabilitate the interior of the cabin units to include new floor coverings, wall coverings, electrical systems, bathroom fixtures, and gas heaters.

* A number of the cabins would be made accessible.

* Enhanced safety and improved accessibility of pathways to the cabin area. Many of the asphalt walkways within the cabin area are old and deteriorating with numerous rough spots, uneven surfaces, raveling edges, and missing pavement. These walkways would be replaced or repaired as part of this project.

* Construction of an employee dormitory in the Old Faithful administrative area for employees displaced from the repurposed cabin units.

The project will proceed when funding becomes available, with the cost of the project to be determined when detailed designs are completed.

To better understand what's at play, it's good to read a bit of the history surrounding lodging at Old Faithful.

Back in 1974, when the Yellowstone Master Plan was adopted, it envisioned removing the cabins associated with the Old Faithful Lodge while boosting the number at Grant Village. Under the Grant Village Development Concept Plan adopted in 1979, 700 lodging units were to be added to Grant Village. However, according to the EA, only 300 units have actually been built.

When the Old Faithful Development Concept Plan arrived in 1985, it, too, called for moving the cabins to Grant Village. That move, however, never occurred.

Now, instead of removing the cabins that have been used as housing for concessionaire employees for about a decade, park officials will return 67 of them to their "original historic use as visitor accommodations."

At the same time, they will build the employee dorm and a related parking lot on 1.08 acres in the administrative area of Old Faithful, which is just west of the area's access roads and away from the nightly lodging rental units.

Comments

Concession housing has never been good, and a dorm invites trouble. Renovate them anyway because they need it, and let the concession employees live in them under decent living conditions for a change. Building a dorm just invites trouble.
Is there some worry that Yellowstone isn't popular enough???
Ranger Bill (Yellowstone 1989)

Yosemite is one of those places which is best served with in-park lodging. I know some people stay in Wet Yellowstone or Gardiner, but it's a long trip from those places to Old Faithful or Lake Yellowstone.

It sounds like a good idea to me. I stayed one night at one of the budget cabins at Old Faithful. It certainly felt like it was a budget accomodation, but it was clean, comfortable, and well priced. The duplex cabin I was in had a sink but no bathroom. The community bathrooms were fairly new and very well maintained.

If they want true affordable accommodations, I still say put in a campground, or a mixed tent/RV park w/hookups! The cabins (w/bath) at OF Lodge and Snow Lodge go for $113-152 per night, before tax etc. That's still $800-1000 per week (+ buying 3 meals a day), out of reach for a lot of people, especially young people, and they are the future of our parks. Campsites at the major campgrounds start at $20/night up to $45/night for full hookups at Fishing Bridge. Now that's affordable!

What I've always thought was unfair was the fact that you have to stay in lodging in order to spend the night at Old Faithful. I know there used to be a campground there, but that it was removed. There is nothing more wonderful than walking out of your lodging and directly into the geyser basin without ever having to get in your car, but if you can't afford to do anything but camp, you're out of luck.
That said, I have stayed in the OF Lodge cabins many times and they are nice and reasonably priced for what they are (esp. considering the location). Where are the cabins that will be converted? Are they on the other side of the road?
Stormy, $45 a night for full hookups, esp. considering what you have to be traveling in in order to use those hookups, is not cheap. Another $30, and I can drive up in my little compact car and stay in a cabin.