Record-breaking amounts of visitors went to Yellowstone National Park last year, even though there were fewer hotels and campsites available. For lodging, there was 20% less hotel room and campsite availability than usual. Yellowstone had around 4.86 million visitors in 2021. That’s up a whole million from 2020.
These numbers broke the record that had previously been set in 2016. The national park is well-known for its wildlife and scenic views. And, of course, for its amazing ability to handle a massive amount of people.
Since there were fewer overnight options available at the park, many people had to leave for the night and come back the next day. Each time a visitor re-enters Yellowstone National Park, that counts as a separate visit. Park officials say that they’re trying to figure out how to better count how many times a visitor enters. Ultimately, it would be nice to be able to tell a new visitor from someone who is re-entering.
Even so, there were a lot of people in the park. Yellowstone only has 330 year-round employees, so influxes of people can easily be overwhelming. However, during the summer months, the national park employs additional staff and volunteers. This brings the staff number up to around 1,000, which is essential for the park’s busiest months.
Most Visitors Are Missing Out On A Lot of the Park
Most of the people choose to visit in the summer months. This is because Yellowstone National Park is much harder to travel through during the winter. In fact, most of the park is completely cut off during the winter and is only reachable via snowmobile or skiing.
Thus, there’s usually a rush of visitors between May and September. Even when the park is easy to travel through, officials say that most visitors stay within half a mile of the roads. Saying that the park is huge would be an understatement. Yellowstone National Park takes up 3,400 square miles. In acreage, that’s 2.2 million acres. For comparison, that’s roughly 150 times the size of Manhattan Island. In order to handle the large amounts of visitors to the park, the parking lots and roads are expansive, too. Even then, ABC News reports that they only make up less than one-tenth of 1% of the park’s total area.
Yellowstone National Park Celebrates 150 Years
Hopefully, Yellowstone National Park will be seeing a record number of visitors again this year. It’s a special year for the park. As the year goes on, park rangers have big plans for celebrating 150 years of Yellowstone. There will be a wide variety of events, of course, ranging from ecological events to Native American events. The events are set to start on March 1.