According to information provided by the Park Service, the June 2009 tally tops the 609,000 visitors recorded in June 2007, the only other time in history that the number of park visitors in June topped the 600,000 mark.
To say this is good news for communities surrounding Yellowstone is an understatement. Hotel reservations in the Park and surrounding communities were slow three months ago, and the country was in the depths of a recession. While the economy is still bad, low gas prices is seen as a factor in the record turnout; free admission on Father’s Day certainly helped as well.
For the first six months of the year, just over one million people visited Yellowstone. That’s up 9.3 percent over 2008, and again tops the previous record January through June total of 978,000 visitors set in 2007.
All park entrances reported visitation increases compared to 2008, with the Northeast, East, and North entrances showing the greatest percentage increase. The statistics also show more people are traveling in RVs and fewer are traveling by bus when compared to 2008. Early numbers also show some park campgrounds also filled more nights this June than in 2008.
July is typically the park’s peak visitation month, followed by August, June, September, and May.
Overall visitation to Yellowstone National Park for 2008 was 3,066,579; down just 2.7 percent from the record 3,151,343 people who visited the park in 2007.