Yellowstone National Park set a visitation record in August, the National Park Service said in a press release.
The park hosted 921,844 recreational visits last month, the equivalent of almost the entire population of Austin, Texas, who visit it. And that was a 4.5% increase from August 2020.
Park officials say August’s previous record was set in 2017, when people gathered in Yellowstone to witness that year’s epic solar eclipse.
At the end of August of this year, Yellowstone recorded 3,590,904 visits.
That’s on track for an annual record and a 40% increase from 2020, when the park was affected by pandemic travel restrictions and was briefly closed.
Busy all summer
An influx of visitors is forcing Arches National Park in Utah to temporarily close its doors almost daily. And disappointed visitors aren’t the only consequence of overcrowding. The National Park Service is expecting one of its busiest summers on record, so Arches won’t be the only popular park where crowds might be an issue. CNN’s Lucy Kafanov reports.
This news comes as no surprise to the people who have been part of the huge waves trying to enter popular national parks all summer.
Outlook for the fall
The National Park Service says don’t count on crowds thinning too much for fall, either.
If you’re planning on enjoying Yellowstone this fall, the NPS has said you should make plans well in advance and be prepared to share the space with other travelers. A few things to keep in mind when planning a trip to Yellowstone, or other national parks for that matter:
– Most camping and accommodation reservations are already taken, and motel spaces could be at times.
– More people means more potential wildlife encounters gone wrong. The NPS says to keep a minimum of 25 meters (23 meters) from all wildlife and 100 meters (91 meters) from bears and wolves.
Top image: Tourists watch Old Faithful erupt in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, last spring. (Kayla Renie / Jackson Hole News & Guide via AP)