GARDINER — In the Yellowstone National Park gateway town of Gardiner, businesses rely heavily on tourism, so when a potential government shutdown could have closed the park, many in town feared it would hinder the last few weeks of tourist business before the winter hits.
One day after a government shutdown was averted, people from all around the United States were still entering Yellowstone through the north entrance in Gardiner.
"Business has still been busy around here,” said Karoline Sleichter, who owns Eddy Out On the Yellowstone coffee kiosk and Sagebrushers and Savages food truck. “We are still busy and the weather has been nice. So, that has helped us."
Sleichter said many customers she spoke with earlier in the weekend had no idea of the potential closure of the park.
Mitch Delasky did know of the looming government shutdown and what it could mean for the national park, but still decided to make the trip to Montana from Wisconsin with his wife.
“My wife had never seen it, so we came back to Yellowstone,” Delasky said.
General Manager of the Absaroka Lodge and the Yellowstone Big Rock Inn, Clay Willis, said there were people who had reservations for the weekend and upcoming week who decided to cancel their plans.
“The problem was that a lot of people were canceling their reservations because of the fact that it was getting right up to (the deadline for a decision), and everybody was hoping that it was going to happen, but it happened at such a last second that many people already decided well I can’t go this year,” Willis said.
Willis said that despite the cancellations, he estimates around 60% of people still kept their room bookings.
“Today we’re getting reservations for today and for this week because of the decision made yesterday. So, that’s helpful,” he said.