Planning on visiting one of the 423 US national parks this summer? Be sure to plan ahead, because so are millions of others. Visitor numbers are up dramatically from previous years and the National Park Service is telling tourists to expect the trend to continue throughout the summer. In a recent press release, they told people to plan ahead and have a backup plan.
Unfortunately for tourists, the uptick in visitors is not isolated to one or two US national parks. The influx of travelers is across the board and is only expected to get worse as the summer months continue. Glacier National Park recently released their May visitor numbers and announced they had their busiest May on record since park attendance records were instituted.
Glacier National Park visitor numbers:
2021 – 294,742
2020 – 56,048
2019 – 251,704
2018 – 269,347
2017 – 263,938
2016 – 292,529
The trend doesn’t stop there. Both Grand Teton National Park as well as Yellowstone National Park also broke records with visitor numbers in May.
Yellowstone visitor numbers:
2021 – 658,513
2020 – 145,849 *The park was closed May 1 through May 18. Two entrances were open May 18 through May 31.
2019 – 576,776
2018 – 570,823
2017 – 550,486
2016 – 593,755
Grand Teton National Park visitor numbers:
May 2021 363,712
May 2018 296,885
May 2016 292,318
May 2019 278,529
May 2017 255,583
With the Covid-19 pandemic seemingly over in many places around the world, tourist numbers are skyrocketing at an exponential rate. While this is great for the rebound of tourism, many national parks are struggling to handle the influx of tourists as many have unfilled job openings and a shortage of available workers. A lot of national park jobs are usually filled by international students, who are unable to currently enter the country due to ongoing travel restrictions.
The National Park Service is warning travelers to get there early, plan ahead, and to please be patient as employees do their best to accommodate the influx of travelers.
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