YELLOWSTONE N.P. – Visitation to the world’s first national park begins to pick up in May as weather improves and interior roads and facilities open to the public. There were 293,250 recreational visitors to Yellowstone in May and a total of 392,222 for the first five months of 2013.

Comparing recreational visitor figures from 2013 with 2012 won’t provide an accurate picture of year-to-year changes in park visitation. This is because during the summer months the NPS previously used a multiplier of 2.91 persons-per-vehicle. This year and into the future, it will use 2.58 persons-per-vehicle, based on a survey conducted last year.

A better year-to-year comparison of park visitation may be to look at the number of autos and RVs entering the park for recreational purposes. As the data below shows, the total number of visitor vehicles entering the park during the first five months of 2013 was up 8.36 percent compared to the same period in 2012.

Recreational autos and RVs

2013 2012 % change

January 4,135 4,833 – 14.44

February 5,654 4,908 + 5.20

March 5,215 5,040 + 3.47

April 9,777 10,397 – 5.96

May 103,537 93,236 + 11.05

Year-to-date 128,318 118,414 + 8.36

All park entrances saw an increase in these vehicle numbers in May 2013 compared to the same month the previous year, with the park’s East and South entrances posting the largest gains. The NPS expects the actual number of vehicles entering Yellowstone this year for recreational purposes to remain consistent with recent years.

July is typically the park’s peak visitation month, followed in order by August, June, September and May.