COOKE CITY, Mont. (KCWY) -- Recent news stories have reported the government shutdown trapped tourists in Cooke City, Montana on the edge of Yellowstone National Park.

The snowy impassable roads have since been cleared, but now businesses are empty as tourist stay away.

Cooke City is just a few miles outside Yellowstone's northeast gate.

The government shutdown closed the park just days before a heavy snowstorm blanketed roads here.

A business owner says tourists were trapped for 24 hours.

"Beartooth was closed, the park was closed, and Chief Joseph Pass was closed. There was no way in or out of here," said business owner Leo Gartner.

But, some people reportedly drove east toward Wyoming, even as snow plows got stuck on the chief joseph pass.

Park spokesman Al Nash says "if there was a prolonged closure east, we're going to let tourists come through the park. We're not going to be unreasonable."

"It's a ghost town," said Cooke City visitor Bill Anderson.

People are more afraid of losing their businesses, because the shutdown, shutdown the tourist traffic.

"Usually this time of year there are a lot more people here. I mean you can shoot a cannonball up and down this street and you wouldn't hit a fly. Our business here is down 80 to 90 percent," Gartner said.

Silvergate is even closer to the park.

Most businesses here are closed or empty, as they are in Cooke City.

It's not clear how many were affected by Yellowstone's closure, and how many normally close now.

But, these towns count on a summer season that usually ends in late October.

"My October reservations were 100% cancelled," said Brandon Richardson who owns a local motel.

Some here fear they'll have to go out of business because the money they normally make now would get them through the winter.

"I've been talking with my banker every day," Gartner said.

Looking forward, Cooke City residents fear this shutdown will also hurt their winter snowmobile season and possibly delay the town's opening next spring.

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