JACKSON, Wyo. — At a glance, the COVID-19 pandemic appears to have taken a toll on visitation to Grand Teton National Park. But upon closer examination, pent up demand had parkgoers pushing through the gates at a brisk pace.
Data from May was released Tuesday showing last month’s visits down 54% from May 2019. However, considering the park was closed for the first half of the month, the numbers are surprisingly robust.
Grand Teton National Park closed to public access on March 24 and did not reopen until May 18—and on a limited basis at that. Technically, the park was open for only 14 days in May 2020.
U.S Highway 89 and the multi-use pathway along the highway remained accessible during the entire month of May. Locals likely accounted for most of the pre-May 18 visits to Grand Teton.
Recreation visits to the park for the month of May 2020 were 56% less compared to May 2019, and 54% less compared to the five-year average (2015-19) of recreation visits for the month of May.
Recreation visits for May 18-31, 2020, in contrast, were just 28% off compared to the same time 2019.
Recreation visits to Grand Teton National Park
May 2020 123,752
May 2019 278,529
May 18-31, 2020 108,889
May 18-31, 2019 150,296
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