The West braces for a “cosmic traffic jam”

Hordes of travelers have filled up campsites and hotels in preparation.


The four Western states within the path of Aug. 21’s total solar eclipse are getting ready as if they’re expecting a natural disaster. Towns have set up task forces and hotlines and are rerouting police to the path of totality to prepare for the crush of visitors. Services are likely to be overwhelmed, so locals plan to stock up on food, water and gas.

With an estimated 1 million people coming to Oregon alone, the state’s Department of Transportation is warning of a “cosmic traffic jam.” Oregon’s 1,300 campsites near the path of totality were reserved within an hour of becoming available online in November. The state added an additional 1,000 “eclipse” campsites in April. Some hotels have cancelled old reservations and tripled their rates, provoking lawsuits from angry patrons. In Wyoming, Grand Teton National Park is anticipating its “busiest day ever,” according to its website, as backpackers descend on the park’s first-come-first-serve campsites and permits. Idaho is expecting up to several hundred thousand visitors, with totality passing primarily over its five national forests.

Click on the locations for more information on how locals are prepping for the solar eclipse on Aug. 21.

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