CODY (WNE) — Yellowstone National Park has broken its all-time visitation record with three months still remaining in the year.
A record 4,463,000 million visitors have come through the Park in 2021 so far, shattering the previous full year record set in 2016 of 4.2 million visitors.
The new record was set after a seventh consecutive month of record monthly visitation was reached in September. In September, about 872,000 people visited the Park, a roughly 4.25% increase in attendance from the previous record set last year.
That visitation total is more similar to August attendance in recent years, and what July traffic amounted to about 10 years ago.
Park superintendent Cam Sholly attributed this growth to tour buses making their return to the Park after being prohibited because of the pandemic last year. Sholly said 900 tour buses entered Yellowstone in September alone.
Sholly said he anticipates Yellowstone finishing out the year at around 4.6-4.7 million for attendance, as he said October remained busy until the recent cold snap arrived.
“That’s busy,” he remarked.
Sholly commended his staff for handling the crowds despite having difficulty filling positions and ongoing COVID-19 concerns.
“Overall, considering record levels of visitation it was successful,” he said, “but I would also say the staff is under substantial amount of stress that comes with managing that level of visitation.”