October 6, 2011 Posted by Emily in Business, Explore, Montana, News, Outdoors, Regional, Yellowstone
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Yellowstone tops three million visitors

Rebounding from a lingering winter that included snow and ice well into May, and rockslides and avalanches that forced a few temporary road closures, Yellowstone National Park still managed to host more than three million visitors for its third consecutive summer season.

For the second year in a row, more than half a million visitors spent their vacations in the park during the month of September alone, just shy of three percent below 2010’s record-breaking fall month.

May typically marks the beginning of the summer season. When weather cooperates, it is the first month when most major park roads open to wheeled visitor traffic, and when visitor services begin to reopen for the year. July is traditionally the park’s peak visitation month, followed by August, June, September and May, though visitation numbers can fluctuate between months for a number of different and unpredictable reasons.

With much colder temperatures and the ever-present chance for rapidly changing weather conditions, the less-traveled winter and spring seasons represent a small but still very important portion of the park’s annual visitation. In 2010, the park recorded more than 223,000 visitors during the months of October, November and December.

The West Entrance remains the park’s busiest, with nearly 210,000 visitors in September, and nearly 1.3 million for the summer, followed by the South, North, East and Northeast Entrances.

Yellowstone experienced back-to-back record visitation years in 2009 and 2010, with nearly 3.3 million visitors and over 3.6 million visitors, respectively.

nature.nps.gov/stats