Yellowstone Visitation Numbers Too High?
Written by Andrew-Rossi on August 11, 2017
Sometime within the next four to six years, Yellowstone National Park is expected to reach its capacity for being able to handle all the vehicles that tourists drive through the park every year to see its sights.
Yellowstone National Park yesterday released the results of two separate studies completed last year that provide current information about traffic and parking, as well as visitor demographics, values, experiences, and expectations. The studies show that since 2008, annual visitation in Yellowstone has increased by more than 40 percent, which challenges the park’s ability to manage visitor use in a way that protects resources and offers high-quality, safe visitor experiences.
The new data from the Visitor Use Study shows that visitors enjoy and care about Yellowstone, but they think it’s too crowded during the summer season. More than half of Yellowstone’s visitors surveyed think that there are too many people in the park.
The Transportation and Vehicle Mobility Study shows that within Yellowstone’s most heavily-travelled corridors, parking lots are overflowing, traffic jams abound, and roadway safety incidents are on the rise. During much of the summer season, there are on average nearly 30 percent more vehicles using the main travel corridors than those roads can comfortably and safely handle.
Park Service officials says potential solutions that will be discussed include instituting a reservation system or passenger shuttles to control the number of visitors during peak times for the busiest attractions in the park.