With three months left to go, visitation to Yellowstone National Park this year has now surpassed the previous record for total annual visitation set in 2010. The park has thus far seen more than 3.8 million visits in 2015, which exceeds the total visits recorded in the previous busiest year of 2010, when the park tallied just over 3.6 million visits.
Yellowstone hosted a total of 680,213 recreational visits in September, an increase of 18.97 % compared to September 2014 numbers. This month’s numbers bring the total up to 3, 814,178 recreational visits in the first nine months of 2015, which is 15.97% over 2014 levels. Each of the park’s five entrances showed an increase in vehicles for the month of September compared to 2014 levels. The west entrance recorded the largest increase in September visits, at 16,384 more than September 2014.
“This is certainly a noteworthy event,” said Dan Wenk, Yellowstone National Park Superintendent. “We are delighted to see that more and more visitors are making their way to Yellowstone to experience the park. However, it creates additional challenges for our staff who work hard to protect this amazing place while providing top-notch services for visitors. We want to do everything we can to make sure that park visitors have a safe and enjoyable trip, while at the same time protecting the special resources that Yellowstone was set aside to preserve.”
While many factors are at play, park managers point to the National Park Service’s “Find Your Park” public awareness campaign, marketing and tourism promotions by the states of Montana and Wyoming, and lower gas prices as possible influences in the record number of visits to Yellowstone this year.
Detailed park visitation information and additional information on how these statistics are calculated is available online at www.irma.nps.gov/Stats/Reports/Park/YELL.