One of the nation’s most popular national parks is experiencing a significant dip in attendance levels so far this year.
Yellowstone National Park’s attendance levels were down 11 percent from January through May compared to the same time period in 2010. While some may point to this decline as a sign of tough economic times, the shift might have more to do with Mother Nature.
Yellowstone, and most of Wyoming for that matter, has been battered by a snowier-than-usual winter and spring. The Cowboy State saw no relief in May, when flooding took a toll on some parts of the state and icy conditions wreaked havoc on roads in other areas. This is likely to have contributed to the 13 percent dip in attendance in May.
Last year, 3.6 million visitors trekked to Yellowstone, setting the record for the park's highest attendance levels. Most of those visitors come in the summer months, when vacation season hits and Wyoming weather is slightly more predictable. According to reports, the number of people who visit Yellowstone during the first two weeks of July tends to equal the number of people who visit the park in the first five months of the year. So there’s definitely time for a comeback — but another record-breaking year seems unlikely at this point.
Also on MNN: National Parks as an economic indicator