MOOSE, Wyo. (AP) — Just nine months into 2021, Wyoming’s Grand Teton National Park already has had its busiest year on record.
The park joins nearby Yellowstone in setting visitation records this year.
Grand Teton had almost 3.5 million recreation visits between January and September. The official count of 3,493,937 topped 2018’s full-year record by 2,786, park officials said in a statement Wednesday.
The increased tourism has meant more traffic. Trail use is up 29% from 2019 and 49% from 2016.
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.
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 got 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 both Yellowstone and Grand Teton were down somewhat in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.