Kayak tour guide from Spokane reflects on what Yellowstone flooding could mean for his business

Nathaniel Hagood had just completed a kayaking trip on Yellowstone Lake when he received the message.

“I pulled out my phone and saw I had a text from the emergency alert service,” the Spokane native said. “All roads closed.”

Hagood, who opened his kayaking tour business – Prismatic Tours – last year, is just one of thousands affected by historic flooding in Yellowstone National Park. Although Hagood pointed out that he was lucky – his house was not destroyed and he operates at the south end of the park as he does, the damage was less severe – he is still worried.

“When we left the park we were a little surprised, it could have serious consequences for our business,” he said. “Is this the last tour we are going to do in the summer of 2022? As a new company, we certainly weren’t in the dark yet. »

Hagood, a graduate of Lewis and Clark High School, lives in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, where he is a ski instructor, in addition to running his guiding business.

It turned out that this was not the last tour he led. But the long-term impacts are still unclear.

The national park reopened several of its entrances on Wednesday, but Hagood is unsure how the rest of the summer will go. He has already had a number of trips in August canceled.

“We are faced with having to reimburse all of these customers for these trips that they have scheduled,” he said. “Not good. Especially as a new business.

The flip side is that with the northern part of Yellowstone closed indefinitely, it could push more visitors and trips to the southern end where he operates his guide company.

“It’s kind of a toss-up,” he said. “It could be a very difficult summer.

“I think it’s too early to tell. I would say the takeaway is that we are extremely grateful that the lower part of the park is relatively untouched.