Businesses and organizations around Yellowstone National Park have helped raise most of the funds needed to bolster snow plowing inside the country's oldest national park, allaying fears of a delayed opening this spring because of federal budget cuts contained in the sequester.
The annual plowing operation—a massive effort to clear a winter's worth of snow—was slated to begin March 4 but was delayed until March 18 to save money. Park officials said that could delay opening by one to three weeks.
Business groups and the tourism board in Jackson Hole, Wyo., fearing a loss of tourism dollars, have raised the funds to pay for plowing near the South gate, while those in Cody, Wyo., have met almost half their goal to open the East gate, officials said. The state of Wyoming is providing equipment and personnel to help plow park roads, while firms will pay back the transportation department for whatever it costs the agency to use its own workers on federal roads, according to a spokesman for the governor of Wyoming.