visitation

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Yellowstone Lake Hotel celebrates 125 years of hosting park visitors

The National Park Service is observing its centennial this summer, but it was a grand old hotel 25 years older than the Park Service that kicked off the season's festivities in Yellowstone National Park on Friday. Dozens gathered at Yellowstone Lake Hotel to celebrate the structure's designation last year as a National Historic Landmark, and to mark 125 years since the hotel opened to the public in 1891. Continue Reading →

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Early crowds make for busy opening day at East Gate to Yellowstone Park

A Buddhist monk from Thailand takes photographs at Sylvan Lake on Friday in Yellowstone National Park.

For the past decade, at 8 a.m. on the first Friday in May, Yellowstone National Park ranger Dennis Lenzendorf has pulled aside a locked barricade to open the park's East Entrance to the season's first visitors. But this year was a little different. Normally, a few dozen cars—mainly full of locals anxious to re-enter the park on opening day—are queued up and waiting. But typically, after the first hour, traffic is sparse. This past Friday, more than 50 vehicles were still lined up at 10 a.m. waiting to enter. Continue Reading →

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Record October pushes Yellowstone yearly total visits past 4 million

The record summer season at Yellowstone National Park finished with a bang, as October brought more than a quarter-million visitors, pushing the annual total to more than 4 million people so far—a milestone never reached before at the world's first national park. Numbers posted by the National Park Service show that 252,013 people visited Yellowstone in October, an increase of more than 29 percent over last year, which was previously the busiest October on record, with 194,804 visitors. Continue Reading →

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Record crowds push Yellowstone managers to plan for 2016

Yellowstone National Park Superintendent Dan Wenk has been making the rounds to gateway communities to discuss the ups and downs of the park's record summer visitation. The good news is that more people are coming to Yellowstone than ever. Which is also the bad news. Or more specifically, that so many autos and buses are rolling through the park. "We saw more vehicles in Yellowstone National Park than we've ever seen before," Wenk said last week in Cody during an informal meeting with tourism industry leaders. Wenk has also met with similar groups as part of what he called "listening sessions" in the Montana towns of Gardiner, West Yellowstone and Cooke City, as well as in developed areas in the park. Continue Reading →

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Yellowstone sees busiest year on record with 3.8 million visitors so far

More people visited Yellowstone National Park last month than any other September on record, and the park has set a new annual visitation record, with nearly three months still remaining before the end of the year. More than 3.8 million people have visited Yellowstone through the end of September, according to figures compiled by the National Park Service. That shatters the previous annual record of 3.6 million visitors in 2010. And if October follows recent trends, Yellowstone could log more than 4 million visitors by the end of 2015. Continue Reading →

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July sets record as busiest month ever in Yellowstone

Yellowstone National Park managers are looking for ways to more effectively deliver safety messages about watching bears, wolves and other wildlife at roadside traffic jams.

If things seemed a little crowded last month during your visit to Yellowstone National Park, it wasn't just you. It was the million other people who picked July to visit Old Faithful, Yellowstone Lake, Mammoth Hot Springs and the park's other top attractions. July was the busiest single month ever in Yellowstone, according to numbers posted online by the National Park Service. Yellowstone saw 980,702 recreational visitors last month, a 14 percent increase over July 2014, when 858,857 recreational visitors toured the park. That's 2 percent higher than June 2010, which had been the busiest month on record until now. Continue Reading →

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Yellowstone visitation up sharply so far this year

Visitation to Yellowstone National Park for January through May is up more than 24 percent compared to the same time period in 2014. Although some of that increase could be attributed to a new after-hours counter at the West Entrance, a mild winter and early spring also played a role in drawing people to the park. Visitation to the world’s first national park begins to pick up in May as weather improves and interior roads and visitor facilities open to the public. Continue Reading →

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Savvy regulars, eager locals cherish Yellowstone spring

Bison dot the landscape in the Lamar Valley as a lack of snow leaves much of Yellowstone National Park open for spring grazing.

For the faithful and fanatical few early visitors to Yellowstone National Park arriving from Cody last week, Friday seemed more like a breezy summer day than the first chance to enter the park by car after another long winter. But it appears there wasn't quite enough winter overall in the park this year, as snowpack was at just a fraction of its usual levels throughout the wide valleys and high mountains that are home to headwaters for much of the surrounding region. A mild and dry winter made for an easy time moving around the park, but could mean limited water for irrigation and the potential for a busy fire season in surrounding areas. Continue Reading →

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Grand Teton sees record visitation in 2014

Grand Teton National Park experienced record numbers in 2014 for both total visitation and recreational visits, according to final statistics tallied for the year. Over 4.29 million people entered the park during the year, with over 2.79 million of those making a recreational excursion. Visitation peaked during July with over 686,000 people touring Grand Teton. Continue Reading →

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