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Glacier NP visits up, uncertainty over record season

Strong August pushes up tourist numbers
Posted at 2:48 PM, Sep 18, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-18 16:48:57-04

Visitation to Glacier National Park is up again this summer, and actually running ahead of last year's pace.

But it remains to be seen whether the number of people going through the gates will be enough to top the 2017 all time record.

This has been a very busy summer in Glacier. Unencumbered by the fires which blocked access to the west side of the Going-to-the-Sun Road the last two years, traffic has remained strong through August.

But the colder start to the season meant the summer got off to a somewhat slower start.

Through the end of August, 2.4 million people had entered Glacier, almost 50,000 more than at the same time last summer.

However, at this time during the record year of 2017, 2.8 million visitors had come to the park, even with the closures brought about by the Sprague Fire.

That would appear to put Glacier on track to beat last year's mark of 2.9 million visitors. A strong fall season could help push that year-to-date total, putting it on pace with the last three years, but still short of the all-time record of 3.3 million visitors in 2017.

While some locations like Many Glacier and Two Medicine are actually off last year's pace, people coming through the West Entrance continue to soar, up 53% over last year.