MOOSE, Wyo. — A boom in visits to America’s national parks continues, with Grand Teton National Park joining nearby Yellowstone in having its busiest year on record.
Just nine months into 2021, the park in northwestern Wyoming has already surpassed its previous full-year record for visitors set in 2018. Between January and September, Grand Teton hosted 3,493,937 recreational visitors, topping the 2018 record by 2,786, park officials said in a statement Wednesday.
The explosion in visitors to the park known for its jagged snow-capped mountains follows a decline in tourism last year blamed on the coronavirus pandemic.
Visitors are seeing the park at different times of the year. More are visiting during March, April and May, park officials said. Summertime remains hectic, though, with this past July the busiest in park history.
The increased tourism has meant more traffic, and trail use is up 29% from 2019 and 49% from 2016.
Park officials are studying tourism patterns and how other parks are handling more visitors, said Grand Teton Superintendent Chip Jenkins.
“The visitor experience is a resource, just like moose or clean air, and it’s something we are actively working to preserve and protect,” Jenkins said.
Yellowstone officials announced earlier that the park just north of Grand Teton had almost 4.5 million recreation visits through September. This is the first year Yellowstone has seen more than 4 million visitors.
Yellowstone had just under 4 million visits in 2016. Visits to Yellowstone also decline last year.