BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — Yellowstone National Park will partially reopen at 8 a.m. Wednesday, after catastrophic flooding destroyed bridges and roads and drove out thousands of tourists.

The Park Service announced Saturday that visitors will once again be allowed on the park’s southern loop under a temporary license plate system designed to manage the crowds: Those with even-numbered plates and motorcycle groups will be allowed on even-numbered days, and those with odd-numbered or vanity plates on the odd-numbered days.

Commercial tours and visitors with proof of overnight reservations at hotels, campgrounds, or in the backcountry will be allowed in whatever their plate number.

Visitors had been flocking to Yellowstone during its 150th-anniversary celebration. The southern loop provides access to Old Faithful, the rainbow-colored Grand Prismatic Spring, and the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone and its majestic waterfall. It can be accessed from the park’s south, east and west entrances.

  • A road ends where floodwaters washed away a house in Gardiner, Mont., Thursday, June 16, 2022. Yellowstone officials are hopeful that next week they can reopen the southern half of the park, which includes Old Faithful geyser. Park officials say the northern half of the park, however, is likely to remain closed all summer, a devastating blow to the local economies that rely on tourism. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
  • A house sits in Rock Creek after floodwaters washed away a road and a bridge in Red Lodge, Mont., Wednesday, June 15, 2022. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
  • Yellowstone National Park-Flooding
  • Floodwaters inundated property along the Clarks Fork Yellowstone River near Bridger, Mont, on Monday, June 13, 2022. The flooding across parts of southern Montana and northern Wyoming forced the indefinite closure of Yellowstone National Park just as a summer tourist season that draws millions of visitors annually was ramping up. (AP Photo/Emma H. Tobin)

“It is impossible to reopen only one loop in the summer without implementing some type of system to manage visitation,” Yellowstone Superintendent Cam Sholly said in a news release. “My thanks to our gateway partners and others for helping us work out an acceptable temporary solution for the south loop while we continue our efforts to reopen the north loop.”

The north loop is expected to remain closed through the summer, if not longer. Officials say it could take years and cost more than $1 billion to repair the damage in the environmentally sensitive landscape.