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Visitation in Yellowstone and Jackson down for June

The sign at the entrance to Yellowstone National Park
Wikimedia Commons

Yellowstone National Park saw visitation decrease by almost half last month compared to summer 2021, and one gateway community is feeling the slump too.

Last year in June, Yellowstone saw 938,845 visits, and this year it had 536,601 visits. According to a park press release, this is largely because of the historic flooding that shut down the park in early June.

The gateway community of Jackson experienced ripple effects of the decrease in visitation. Lodging bookings were down by 22 percent for June compared to last year.

Andrew Kruger, the Jackson Hole Chamber of Commerce communications manager, said the streets are noticeably less crowded.

“It's definitely a stark contrast from the past two years,” he said. “But, I think the past two years those numbers were due to a lot of other factors as well, like pandemic restrictions and outside recreation being like one of the main outlets for people at the time.”

Kruger added that he thinks visitation numbers were inflated over the last two years of the pandemic, because national parks were some of the few places people could still visit. He also thinks inflation is affecting travel this year, as well, too.

But, historically August is a busy month for tourism, Kruger said, adding that he thinks the numbers could pick up. He said Jackson and surrounding areas have seen a lot of last minute reservations.

“The past two years, it would be unheard of, but you're still, like, able to book lodging in Yellowstone, like two weeks out from now,” Kruger said.

Two entrances to Yellowstone National Park, the north and northeast entrances, are still closed to car traffic, but are open to foot and bicycle visitors. The park is working on temporary fixes to the roads at the two entrances.

Caitlin Tan is the Energy and Natural Resources reporter based in Sublette County, Wyoming. Since graduating from the University of Wyoming in 2017, she’s reported on salmon in Alaska, folkways in Appalachia and helped produce 'All Things Considered' in Washington D.C. She formerly co-hosted the podcast ‘Inside Appalachia.' You can typically find her outside in the mountains with her two dogs.
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