Yellowstone Breaks Attendance Record

Officials cite low gas prices, outreach, centennial

“We are delighted to see that more and more visitors are making their way to Yellowstone to experience the park.” (Yellowstone National Park / Flickr)

Yellowstone National Park announced on Thursday that it broke its yearly attendance record, tallying 3.8 million visits year-to-date in 2015, according to a press release. The number, reached after 680,213 visits in September, surpassed the previous record of 3.6 million visits in 2010. 

“This is certainly a noteworthy event,” Dan Wenk, superintendent of Yellowstone National Park, said in the release. “We are delighted to see that more and more visitors are making their way to Yellowstone to experience the park.”

Park officials attribute the growth to the lower gas prices, tourism campaigns in Wyoming and Montana, and the National Park Service’s “Find Your Park” initiative, which targets millennials and urbanites on social media. 

“It’s really not a surprise to us,” Daryl Schliem, president and CEO of the Bozeman Chamber of Commerce, told Outside on Wednesday. (Bozeman, Montana, is close to Yellowstone’s North Entrance.)

Schliem said that a $2-a-night hotel tax, implemented in 2010, raises $1 million each year for advertising and tourism initiatives. 

In addition to increased attendance, there have also been several wildlife attacks at Yellowstone this year. A grizzly bear killed one hiker who was hiking alone, and five visitors in 2015 were injured by bison while attempting to take selfies.

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