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Gardiner Voices: For fly fishing guide, fewer impromptu trips are better than none

Olivia Weitz
Yellowstone Public Radio
Richard Parks' father opened the fly shop in 1953. Richard has been working there since he was 10 years old.

It’s been more than two months since the Yellowstone River flooded communities across Montana — and especially hard hit was the town of Gardiner, right at the entrance to Yellowstone National Park.

Yellowstone Public Radio is checking in to see how people and iconic places in the gateway town are adapting.

A fly shop and guiding service there is seeing fewer casual fishermen, but some serious anglers have returned.

Parks Fly Shop owner Richard Parks says with the limited, timed entry system for guides going into Yellowstone from the North entrance, there are fewer spur-of-the-moment trips.

“That kind of adventure event is really not possible because of the constraints on getting in," he said. "We have to be in too early in the morning for them. It commits more of their time than they have budgeted.'

Parks says the shop can still put together half-day guided fishing trips, but it’s mostly shifted to full day tours in the park.

“Fine for a serious fisherman, not so fine if you’re trying to fit it into being, you know, something that you’re integrating with the rest of your general visit to Yellowstone,” he said.

But, Parks says, some road access is better than none at all. He’s looking forward to seeing walk-in business return when the road into the park from Gardiner re-opens to tourists in October.

Olivia Weitz covers Bozeman and surrounding communities in Southwest Montana for Yellowstone Public Radio. She has reported for Northwest News Network and Boise State Public Radio and previously worked at a daily print newspaper. She is a graduate of the University of Puget Sound and the Transom Story Workshop.