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Island Park welcoming rerouted visitors to the region around Yellowstone

ISLAND PARK, Idaho (KIFI) - As part of the aftermath of the closure of Monday's closure of Yellowstone National Park, many business owners in the region nearby the park are reminding people there's still plenty to discover in the region. Such is the case for Mike Wilson, the owner of the Drift lodge and Fly shop and president of the Yellowstone/Teton territory tourism.

He says Monday brought a new set of challenges that were scary for many.

"It wasn't too too bad as far as the people coming out. You know, we did have a lot of calls and inquiries on rooms Truthfully, it was scary and thinking about what was going on on the north side and what they were facing up there and trying to just figure out the best things to do and where to go."

Wilson says his heart goes out to those on the north side of the park still being affected by the damage, and is reminding people that the west and south sides of the park and the surrounding region is still safe.

"We're having a lot of inquiries from people who think that our side of the park is the same as the north side. And we're we're trying to dispel that and let them know that we're here, that things are safe and we're open for business."

He says now they are encouraging people in the area to explore more of the West region of the park as Island park has tons to offer for those exploring the outdoors.

"We have so many attractions, big springs, Mesa Falls all again. Like I said, all of the hiking biking, ATV and fishing. We are Yellowstone. I mean, we are in the Yellowstone caldera. So what they have there technically we have here."

Similar sentiments that are held by the general manager of the Sawtelle Mountain Resort Richard Turpin.

"We encourage people to come out. If you're familiar with Island Park, you wouldn't you wouldn't believe how green it is right now for this time of year. It's beautiful and and it's safe."

Turpin says he tells visitors to the area that though he's lived in Island Park and the Yellowstone area for at least four years he is still learning more about his new home.

"It amazes me that the things I had not seen or been aware of before, there's plenty to do and plenty to discover."

He says there's still plenty of ways to come to the Yellowstone region and enjoy any vacation plans.

"Enjoy their vacation and just know and understand and realize the area is open and businesses are ready to welcome you."

Collette Rinehart, the executive director for Island Park's Chamber of Commerce, adds many of the businesses in the area understand that Yellowstone is the bigger draw but, "we're a destination and in and of itself. So I think that the more people know about what we have to offer, the better. And they're getting very educated now on all the things you can do outside the park."

Rinehart adds at least one restaurant in the area has told her of their plans to help their northern neighbors still being affected by the devastation of the floods.

"We support our neighbors. And we've even got a restaurant that is in the planning stages of offering their profits of one to two days of profits that they want to put into a fund to help our neighbors in Montana. Whether that be in Gardener or some of the other affected areas."

Rinehart adds the ability to explore the city and its surrounding area can bring new things to the limelight.

"Here's a lot of things to see and do along that main street and just off of Main Street. When I say off of Main Street, it might be 20 miles off of our Main Street, but it's a destination going to if you've never been to Mesa Falls, need to Mesa Falls and just enjoy the outdoors."

If you want some ideas for things to do around Island Park, you can go here.

Article Topic Follows: Local News
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Braydon Wilson

Braydon is a reporter for Local News 8 and Eyewitness News 3.

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