People love Yellowstone National Park in the summer. July of 2015 is now officially the busiest month in Yellowstone National Park’s history, according to the newest visitation numbers released online. In the 31 days of July, 980,702 entered the park, exploring the geysers, mountains and valleys, while seeing herds of wildlife spread throughout the world’s first National Park. The numbers for July are up 14.19% from last year, and so far in 2015 Yellowstone National Park has seen a 17% increase in visitation. Yellowstone National Park averaged 31,635 people a day in July, which is nearly the same as the population of nearby Butte, Montana.
The majority of visitors heading into Yellowstone National Park come in from the West Entrance, near West Yellowstone, Montana. Sporting a population of just over 1,000 people, National Park stats show that 412,135 people came through this gateway to Yellowstone in July of 2015, transforming the sleepy town into a chaotic den of tourism. Each day, an average of 13,294 people rolled through West Yellowstone, filling up on gas, getting coffee and supporting a booming tourism industry in an otherwise unassuming little town in Western Montana.
Elsewhere, visitation was up at the other four entrance to Yellowstone. The East gate, which leads toward Cody, Wyoming saw 135,843 visitors in July. The North gate, which is adorned with the famous Yellowstone Arch saw 164,170 tourists. The remote Northeast gate toward Cooke City and Silver City saw just 58,872 people. Finally, the South gate, which leads to Grand Teton National Park saw 209,679 natural enthusiasts.
The increased numbers of tourism help bring in extra revenue to the park as well, who raised the entrance and camping fees earlier in 2015. The extra money will help go toward finishing millions of dollars of renovations and repairs to a crumbling infrastructure, a byproduct of a Congress that refuses to fully fund our protected lands.
The month of July wasn’t without incident at the busy park. July saw the summer’s fifth bison goring, a tourists continued to test their luck against petting and approaching the wild bison. In bear news, a local hiker was also mauled by a grizzly protecting her cubs as he ran in the backcountry, off trail, without bear spray. Luckily, the rangers in the park are doing a fantastic job of educating each and every guest on how to best view wildlife, explore geyser basins, and see the wonders of the park.
As the increase in popularity of our National Parks continues, it will be interesting to see how the National Park Services adapts the visitor experience to handle these numbers. Until then, it is best to head out to America’s most iconic National Park and explore every inch of the world wonder.