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Pandemic pushes Montana recreation to the limits

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Town Crier “Briefs from the Region” (1) – 11/23/20

Median housing costs have increased tens of thousands of dollars overnight. Recreation stores are struggling to keep inventory. Yellowstone National Park saw its busiest season on record, despite there being no tour buses. Trailheads are packed, the rivers are overrun and now the “Last Best Place” is no longer the undiscovered paradise of solitude it once was. As the pandemic drives more people out of urban parts of the country, many are fleeing—whether long-term or short-term—to Montana.

Bozeman’s mayor, Cyndy Andrus, told the New York Times it may be time to halt tourism marketing and catch up with the strained infrastructure. “Closing the state down to visitors is not practical; even if it was, I don’t believe it is a good idea,” she said. “You cannot put that genie back in the bottle.”

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