Grand Teton National Park has just set an attendance record with several months remaining in 2021. The park does not stand alone at this milestone; Yellowstone National Park, which is also primarily located in Wyoming, set a record this year as well.
Around 3.5 million people have visited Grand Teton in 2021 as of September, meaning that any visits in October through December will simply broaden the margin of the historic record. In a statement on Wednesday, officials announced the visitor count: 3,493,937. This number surpasses 2018’s record by 2,786.
Yellowstone National Park is breaking records too. The park has seen around 4.5 million visitors this year, making 2021 the first year the park has had over 4 million visitors.
Visitors aren’t just parking and taking photos. According to officials, the use of trails in the park has increased by 29 percent from 2019 and 49 percent from 2016.
There are some clear patterns that emerge when studying the use of national parks. Summer is predictably popular, and July was the busiest month in Grand Teton’s history. Park officials have also noted that March, April, and May have seen an increase in visitors.
The National Park Service is well aware of the impact that the increase in interest has on the park system. Grand Teton superintendent Chip Jenkins highlighted the importance of maintaining the treasured public land and people’s interest in it, saying that, “The visitor experience is a resource, just like moose or clean air, and it’s something we are actively working to preserve and protect.”
The COVID pandemic has impacted all aspects of life, and national park attendance rates are no exception. Visits declined in 2020, but have increased dramatically this year.
For more information on Grand Teton and other national parks, be sure to check out these articles: