WEST YELLOWSTONE, Montana (Idaho Capital Sun) — Recreational visits at Yellowstone National Park were down again in August as the park continues to recover from historic flooding earlier in 2022.
In August, Yellowstone hosted 582,211 recreational visits, according to a press release from park officials. That is down 37% from the 921,844 recreational visits a year earlier in August 2021, park officials said.
This August’s visitation numbers were also down 29% compared with the 820,006 recreation visits to Yellowstone during August 2019, the last year before the COVID-19 pandemic, which led to park closures in 2020.
Overall, recreational visits so far this year are down 32% from the same time period in 2021. Through August 2022, the park has hosted 2.4 million recreational visits, down from the 3.6 million visits during the same time period in 2021, park officials said.
The decrease was expected. On June 13, park officials closed all entrances to Yellowstone National Park and worked to evacuate all visitors following historic flooding. The floods washed out and permanently damaged roads and bridges, set off rock and mud slides, downed power lines and damaged park infrastructure including water systems.
Crews reopened three of Yellowstone National Park’s entrances on June 22, but the North Entrance at Gardiner, Montana, and the Northeast Entrance near Cooke City, Montana, continue to be closed to public vehicle traffic, though pedestrians and cyclists are allowed in there. A Yellowstone spokeswoman previously told the Sun park officials are working to reopen access for vehicles at the two closed entrances by Oct. 15.
Even with the existing entrance closures in effect, park officials say 93% of Yellowstone National Park’s paved roads and 94% of the park’s backcountry are open and accessible to visitors.
Updated information about closures and restrictions is published on Yellowstone National Park’s website.
Established in 1872 as the world’s first national park, Yellowstone National Park is celebrating its 150th anniversary this year. Most of Yellowstone is located in Wyoming, but small portions extend into Montana and Idaho.