National Parks See Explosion in Visitation
In August Yellowstone National park set a record of above 920,000 visitors for the month. In September they set another monthly number of recreational visits of 882,078 visitors. Most notably they set a record for annual recreational visits in 2021 at 4,472,982 recreational visits. This is a 32% increase over the same period in 2020. With a number like this it is as if the population of an entire state visited Yellowstone.
Even before the pandemic the park has never hit 4 million recreational visits this early in the year.
Officials stated they’d never seen such an increase in visitation in such a short period and assured the public that they will be taking steps, both long and short term, to ensure visitors and can enjoy the park while preserving the ecosystem.
Anyone involved in the National Park system whether by profession or recreation knows this visitation increase isn’t limited to just Yellowstone. Arches National Park in Utah had to close its gates to visitors numerous times during the summer because the facilities couldn’t handle more visitors.
Even now, a sign warns that parking lots at trailheads fill early, even before 9am. Their website still warns visitors that periods of non-admittance can last from 3-5 hours.