Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks.

Rebecca Huntington

In the summer of 1988, 36 percent of Yellowstone National Park was on fire. To this day, it remains the largest wildfire since Yellowstone became a national park. Yellowstone's spokesperson at that time, Joan Anzelmo remembers what it was like to be at the center of the firestorm.

Now that the government shutdown is over, Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks have re-opened, and local communities are hoping business will pick up again.

Scott Balyo with the Cody Country Chamber of Commerce says the area saw a 25 to 30 percent drop in business while the parks were closed.

“The first couple of days of the shutdown, we probably saw a slight increase in business, because people were hopeful that it would be short lived,” Balyo said. “So we had people who were willing to stay in the area and wait and see if the park would reopen.”

Albany County Tourism Board

The forced closures of Wyoming’s national parks have frustrated tourists and slowed business in gateway communities, but tourism offices in the state are working to draw visitors to other locales that aren’t as strongly affected by the shutdown.

The Albany County Tourism Board has released a series of web graphics to encourage people to visit the region.

Spokeswoman Brittany Richards says they have spread virally over social media. One poster reads “The Tetons may be closed, but the Snowy Range is wide, wide open.”

Trespassing citations have been issued to several people attempting to enter Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks since the federal government shutdown closed the parks.

 Yellowstone spokesman Al Nash says that the park is running on minimal staff, with hundreds of employees furloughed due to the shutdown.

 “We have just over a hundred national park service employees on duty on any given day during this shutdown” explains Nash “Across 2.2 million acres mind you, and hundreds of miles of road.”

Kurt Johnson of Wilson is the author of a new field guide for Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks. Wyoming Public Radio’s Willow Belden spoke with Johnson about the book. He says that while there were already a lot of field guides for those parks, he felt he could still add something.