Yellowstone has gangbuster August

JACKSON, Wyo. — Just days after Grand Teton NP shared it had its 2nd busiest August on record, Yellowstone today announced the same.

The park hosted 881,543 recreation visits last month. That’s a 7.5% increase than August 2019, making it the second busiest August on record. The busiest August on record was in 2017, the year of the solar eclipse.

So far in 2020, the park has hosted 2,546,373 recreation visits, down 18% from the same period last year.

The park was closed due to health and safety reasons related to COVID-19 beginning March 24, 2020. Two Wyoming entrances opened on May 18 and three Montana entrances opened on June 1, 2020. All five entrances have been open since June 1.

The year-to-date trend for recreation visits over the last several years (through August):

2020 – 2,546,373
2019 – 3,114,697
2018 – 3,136,241
2017 – 3,232,707
2016 – 3,269,024
2015 – 3,133,965

Evan Hubbard, visitor services technician, keeps a close eye on park visitation trends. Photo: NPS

By the way, did you know Yellowstone keeps track of how many people visit the park each year? Park employees like visitor services technician Evan Hubbard use the information gathered to produce monthly reports, which help inform management decisions ranging from how many people the park hires each summer to updating infrastructure to accommodate increased visitation. Knowing how many people visit the area also helps authorities understand how big of an economic impact Yellowstone has on local communities.

“It’s interesting to look at the data for trends. For example, the first year we started collecting data in 1904, we had about 14,000 visits. Compare that with our busiest year (2016) of 4.26M. That’s a 31,000% increase,” Hubbard said. “It took 76 years to hit one million visits in a single year, but only 17 more to hit two million, 27 more years to three million, and 23 years later we hit four million visitors.”

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