Visitors enjoy Yellowstone in record numbers this summer
by Yellowstone National Park
August 5, 2009
Summer visitation to the world’s first national park continues at a record pace.
Over 900,000 people entered Yellowstone in July; up 11.4 percent from the same month in 2008, and up over the previous all time record of 847,000 visitors set in July 1995.
Yellowstone Recreation Visitors
January: 2009-24,770, 2008-26,864, Change - 7.8 %
February: 2009-28,355, 2008-33,557, Change - 15.5 %
March: 2009-17,317, 2008-19,147, Change - 9.6 %
April: 2009-24,831, 2008-24,433, Change + 1.6 %
May: 2009-261,763, 2008-217,938, Change + 20.1 %
June: 2009-643,844, 2008-593,406, Change + 8.5 %
July: 2009-900,515, 2008-806,110, Change + 11.4 %
Total Year-To-Date: 2009-1,901,395, 2008- 1,723,545, Change + 10.3 %
All park entrances reported an increase in the number of visitors compared to year ago levels. The West Entrance remains the park’s busiest, with over 385,000 visitors this July compared to 337,000 a year ago. The greatest percentage increase in visitation was recorded through the East Entrance, up 15.1 percent from July 2008.
July is typically the park’s peak visitation month, followed by August, June, September, and May.
This is the second record setting month for the park this year. Visitation in June was just under 644,000, well above the previous record of 609,000 visitors in June 2007.
For the first seven months of the year, over 1.9 million people have visited Yellowstone. That’s up 100,000 from the previous record of 1.8 million recorded in 2007. The park may be on a pace to break the annual visitation record of 3.15 million set in 2007.
Park managers believe the decrease in gasoline prices from over $4.00 a gallon last July to near $2.50 a gallon this summer helped spur the increase in visitation.
The National Park Service is offering three fee-free weekends to encourage Americans to visit their national parks this summer. The free admission weekend of July 18-19 is also believed to have contributed to the high visitation levels. The next fee free weekend is set for August 15-16.
Detailed park visitation information is available online at http://www.nature.nps.gov/stats/park.cfm.
Visiting the national parks is an excellent value. A seven-day pass good for both Yellowstone and Grand Teton is just $25; a pass good for entrance to any national park for an entire year is just $80.
All communities near and on the way to Yellowstone are open all year, with local businesses offering a wide range of recreation opportunities.
A wealth of information and assistance planning a visit to Yellowstone can be found on the park’s web site at http://www.nps.gov/yell.
Reservations and information on in-park campgrounds and lodging is available by contacting Xanterra Parks & Resorts at 866-GEYSERLAND or online at http://www.travelyellowstone.com.
Information on lodging, camping, services, and activities near the park in the Montana communities of Gardiner, West Yellowstone, and Cooke City, is available by contacting their respective Chambers of Commerce or from Travel Montana at 800-847-4868 or http://visitmt.com/.
Those interested in visiting the Wyoming communities of Cody and Jackson should contact the Chambers of Commerce, or Wyoming Travel and Tourism at 800-225-5996 or http://www.wyomingtourism.org.
Yellowstone National Park: www.nps.gov/yell