Yellowstone has busiest September on record

Posted 10/15/20

Yellowstone National Park was busy in September, with a 21% increase from the same month in 2019, making it the busiest September on record.

The park hosted 837,499 recreation visits last month as …

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Yellowstone has busiest September on record

Posted

Yellowstone National Park was busy in September, with a 21% increase from the same month in 2019, making it the busiest September on record.

The park hosted 837,499 recreation visits last month as visitors seeking outdoor recreation streamed to the nation’s first national park. The park hosted 881,543 recreation visits in August. “This is a 7.5% increase from August 2019, making it the second busiest August on record,” said a Public Affairs Office official.

The busiest August on record was in 2017, the year of the solar eclipse. So far this year, the park has hosted 3,383,872 recreation visits, down 11% from the same period last year. The park was closed due to health and safety reasons related to COVID-19 and the two Wyoming entrances opened about three weeks late, on May 18. The three Montana entrances opened on June 1.

In September, 16 of the park’s estimated 2,000 employees, or 0.8 percent, tested positive for COVID-19, including seven National Park Service and nine concession employees. Eight of the 16 individuals have recovered, while the other eight individuals are still in recovery.

All employees who have tested positive have been isolated per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and county public health guidelines, park officials said in a press release. Contact tracing has occurred with the assistance of Park County officials in Montana and Wyoming.  

The park had four positive employee cases between May 18 and Aug. 30. A contractor also tested positive in June. In partnership with the two states, the park has substantially increased employee surveillance testing, conducting more than 1,100 tests since the first week of September. About 3,000 tests have been conducted since the park reopened in May.  

The East Gate has been closed at least twice in the past week while road crews worked to clear snow through Sylvan Pass. The gate typically closes for the season around the first of November, depending on the severity of winter weather.

— Mark Davis

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