From Staff Reports
CODY, Wyo. — The National Park Service reports that nearly 3.4 million people visited Yellowstone National Park in 2011, making it the fifth consecutive year to see more than 3 million visitors.
Overall visitation to Yellowstone for 2011 was 3,394,321. That figure is down 6.8 percent from the record 3,640,184 people who visited the park in 2010, making 2011 the second-highest visitation year on record.
July was the park’s busiest month last year, with 906,934 visitors entering Yellowstone. July accounted for more than 25 percent of Yellowstone’s annual visitation total.
December visitation was down 5 percent compared to 2010, with 16,509 visitors recorded in 2011 compared to 17,386 during the same period in 2010. Scant snow for the opening of the winter season limited the areas within Yellowstone where visitors could use snowmobiles or snow coaches. All of the park has since opened to oversnow vehicles.
In a draft progress report circulated earlier this week for public comment, park managers cited their work to develop a sustainability program to reduce the impacts of visitation and park operations.
The report addresses threats to Yellowstone National Park, and will be submitted to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. Public comments on the draft will be included with the final report that is submitted to UNESCO.
Yellowstone was among the initial properties designated as World Heritage Sites by UNESCO in 1978. The U.N. managing committee placed Yellowstone on its list of endangered sites in 1995 and removed it in 2003.
Because relatively few visitors spend much time in Yellowstone’s backcountry, most traffic is heavily focused along roadside attractions and in the park’s developed areas, like Old Faithful.
The top 10 years for visitation in Yellowstone have all come since 1992, and they all saw more than 3 million visitors:
Rank Year Visitation
1 2010 3,640,184
2 2011 3,394,321
3 2009 3,295,187
4 2007 3,151,343
5 1992 3,144,405
6 1999 3,131,381
7 1995 3,125,285
8 1998 3,120,830
9 2008 3,066,570
10 1994 3,046,145