National Park Visitors Surge As Pandemic Restrictions Ease

National parks, Yosemite, Travel, Yellowstone, outdoors
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People are flocking back to America’s national parks as the COVID-19 pandemic—and its ensuing travel restrictions—are gradually receding into the rear-view.

According to a recent press release, Yellowstone National Park saw more visitors last month than it ever has before for the month of May—more than 483,100 people all told. That represents an 11% increase from May, 2019, long before COVID-19 had even started making headlines.

“Summer is Yellowstone’s busiest season,” officials from Yellowstone National Park said in the release (via CNN). “Millions of people visit the park in June, July and August. If you plan to travel to Yellowstone this summer, plan ahead, expect crowding, recreate responsibly and take the Yellowstone Pledge to protect yourself and the park.”

Yellowstone isn’t the only national park to record this kind of spike in visitors, either. Grand Teton National Park, in Wyoming, also set a record for the month of May, welcoming north of 363,700 visitors. That’s a stark, 30% increase from May, 2019 for the park.

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“Camping in the park increased 93% in May 2021 compared to May 2019, while backcountry camping increased 117%. Trail use in the park increased 70% in May, compared to May 2019, on trails that use is counted,” the park said in a release.

According to officials from Grand Teton National Park, July and August are generally its busiest months of the year. It remains to be seen what kind of traffic the park, and others like it, will experience in that segment of 2021.

“Anyone visiting the park is highly encouraged to plan ahead, recreate responsibly and help ensure this iconic landscape may be enjoyed by future generations,” officials advised.

This is all welcome news for America’s national parks, which suffered a dizzying 28% decrease in visitors in 2020 thanks to the pandemic.

Evidently, after year spent cooped up indoors, people are eager to get back out there and explore the Great Outdoors.

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