“My name is Sean Jansen, and I’m a part – time tour guide in Yellowstone National Park, where I work from May to October, taking tourists to Yellowstone. My job varies, taking tourists to beloved places like Old Faithful and instructing people to look for different species of wildlife in the Park. Of course, I still go to the Park and when a client wants to throw a fly rod, we see if we can find some depending on the streams and the specific location where we are.
Starting June 12, 2022, I was at the northern end of Yellowstone National Park, where the infamous Lamar River, Gardiner, and Yellowstone River flow. I was up there driving where almost all the roads and bridges were wiped out by the increase in water volume on June 13th. On the 12th, I was in the Park, trying to recall a special part of each day I instruct, and this Sunday, I had lit the windshield wipers for 10.5 hours. These were the early stages in my mind of what would happen to the local Montana freestone rivers.
On Monday, I made another trip and discovered that the northern part of Yellowstone was closed. I went to the south end of the park, where it was still open, and later evacuated Monday afternoon. Areas like the Madison River at the southern end near the Park, where the Firehole River joins the Madison, is a magnificent valley that Madison The river flows slowly. This valley has an abundance of wildlife and especially many bison. On this day, the Madison River looked like a lake. I kept telling my guests, “It’s not the lake; this is Madison River. ” It shows that rain played an important role in local rivers. I have never seen water flow like this or without Madison in these conditions. I am 33 years old, my first visit to Yellowstone it was eight aged in 1996, and I never missed a summer season in Yellowstone traveling kudo. But I have never seen anything like it before.
A local news station in Bozeman interviewed me on Tuesday and they asked me if I had seen anything like this before in Yellowstone. My response was, “No, but the other major devastating disaster in this valley was the 1988 Yellowstone fires that burned 37% of the Park to the ground.
In addition to guiding tourists to beautiful landscapes and explaining the beauty around the National Park, I go to the park, either with the fly rod or my jogging shoes. The park is a key element for me, and I have been leading for over three years. But as of now, the park is currently closed and they do not plan to reopen until June 19th. Even then, this timeline can be controversial and park officials are reluctant to reopen the Park; however, with the infrastructure lost, it is difficult to say how long this will take.
You can take two different routes to enter Yellowstone from Bozeman. Typically, people follow the Gallatin River towards the Big Sky and others who want to fish for the Madison River head towards Cameron and Quake Lake. Luckily, on Monday, I followed the Madison River. I did this because the journey through the Gallatin Canyon was one-way traffic, with the Gallatin River flowing into the highway, something that had never happened before. I was glad I came home this way and was not caught in the water through the canyon.
The change a year has to make is special. About a year ago this time, we fought for water, where I was fishing for giant foam shrimp, and this year we have not yet seen Salmonfly bloom. I believe land fishing will not be the same as last year after the late spring snowfall and the amount of rain we received.
So far, my running job is in the air. I am certainly not the only guide I am in this position. Twenty thousand people were evacuated from the park and I was not alone. I am not the only guide in this position; many of us will lose our jobs due to floods. However, I believe there will be a solution ahead, but the key to this will take time. People are already canceling their trips up here to Yellowstone due to flooding and many guides in the area will be having a hard summer trying to find clients.
I did not realize the damage on Monday until I saw the rivers themselves. It is a modest and incredible sight to see the power of mother nature, but it is tragic to discover butterfly shops, guide services, people who have lost their homes and people like me. It will really hurt me as places where I like to fly fish and jog on trails will not be accessible as the roads are gone.
It is not just Yellowstone that was affected. In all fairness, I think Yellowstone came out relatively easily around southwestern Montana. Red Lodge, for example, is one of the smallest cities that witnessed devastating floods. “I remember when I was fishing in Rock Creek a year ago, and now the town of Red Lodge is covered in sediment and cobblestones since the influx of Rock Creek increased exponentially.”
Sean Jansen is a freelance writer for Flylords Magazine and spends his time in Bozeman, Montana, guiding tours of Yellowstone National Park.
Fundraising in Montana Flood Relief: #fliesforfloodrelief