Increased Visitation Has Down Side | Big Horn Basin Media

Increased Visitation Has Unintended Consequences

Written by on May 10, 2018

While visitation to Yellowstone National Park is a driving factor for the county’s economy, too many visitors can harm the Park, and visitor experiences.
At Monday’s Parks Day Luncheon, Yellowstone Superintendent Dan Wenk and Grand Teton Superintendent David Vela each commented on the concerns they have about how the high visitation numbers, while pleasing to the economy, are causing concern for administrators when it comes to infrastructure and preservation of the very natural resources that tourists come to see.
Vela says there’s been a 46 percent increase in visitation to the 80 national parks in the Intermountain Region over the last five years. In 2016, the Park Service conducted a survey of visitors to gain insights into how they could enhance the visitor experience, and Vela says the information that was gathered was invaluable.
Park County officials are also concerned about the impact of rising visitor numbers to Yellowstone. According to an article in the Powell Tribune, at an early April gathering of federal, state and local leaders in the region that was focused on transportation needs, those present proposed increasing marketing to the surrounding areas to take the focus off of Yellowstone.
Forward Cody Executive Director James Klessens proposed at the Greater Yellowstone Coordinating Committee meeting on April 4th that by focusing their marketing on surrounding parks and attractions in the Cody and Powell region, visitors could spend 6 days in Park County and only one in Yellowstone. That would take the burden off the Park’s infrastructure and spread the economic boost to the smaller communities around the Park.

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