By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily
Yellowstone National Park continued to see massive amount of visitors in a record-setting May capped by a a Memorial Day holiday that saw visits increase by 50% over two years ago.
The park saw 483,159 visits during May, an increase of 11% from May 2019, which saw 434,385 visits.
Because the park was closed in 2020 from mid-March until May 18 because of the coronavirus pandemic, its visits through the first five months of that year totaled only 145,849.
In contrast, through May of this year, the park has seen 658,513 visitors come through the gates, an increase of 14% compared to 2019.
This week, park officials reported a successful Memorial Day weekend, with visits up 50% compared to 2019. From May 28 to May 31, the park saw 43,416 vehicles come through. In 2019, the park saw 28,890 vehicles over Memorial Day weekend.
Visitation on each of the four days of the holiday weekend increased over the same time period in 2019, but the best day was May 28, with an 80% increase compared to two years before.
Visits to Yellowstone since it reopened to the public last summer have regularly been exceeding averages, with the park reporting multiple times last year that it had some of its best months on record.
According to Rick Hoeninghausen with Xanterra Parks and Resorts, which operates the lodging and restaurant properties in Yellowstone, Americans are going to be flocking to the park this summer.
“Domestic demand has increased because of circumstances and from where I sit, demand for trips to Yellowstone is as high as ever,” he previously told Cowboy State Daily. “I think it’s safe to say, (American travelers have) offset any international demand that’s not there now.”
Justin Walters of the Jackson Hole Chamber of Commerce said lodging properties in the area are already booked for the entire summer.