By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily
Grand Teton National Park had one of its best years for visitation in recorded history last year, despite the fact the coronavirus pandemic forced its closure for nearly two months.
The park hosted 3,289,639 visits last year, the fourth highest number of recreation visits for one year in the park’s history, according to the National Park Service. The park was closed from March 24 to May 18 due to health and safety concerns related to the pandemic.
Compared to 2019, total recreation visits decreased by only 3.4%, despite the pandemic.
“National parks and public lands were extremely important to everyone this past year, providing fresh air, open space and respite from the pandemic. We anticipate that we will see continued high interest in visiting Grand Teton National Park,” park superintendent Chip Jenkins said.
The top five years for recreation visits in Grand Teton National Park are:
- 2018 3,491,151
- 2019 3,405,614
- 2017 3,317,000
- 2020 3,289,639
- 2016 3,270,076
Always ranked among the top 10 national parks for recreation visits, Grand Teton National Park was the fifth highest for visitation in 2020, moving up from eighth in 2019. In 2020, the National Park Service recorded 237 million recreation visits at all of its parks, down more than 90 million visits (27.6%) from 2019.
Yellowstone National Park had an estimated 3,806,306 recreation visits and moved from sixth place in 2019 to second place in 2020 – a place it has not held since 1947.