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Yellowstone Winter Visitation Impacted By Heavy Snowfall

YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK NEWS RELEASE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: AI Nash (307) 344-2015

Heavy early season snowfall which continued through the season is believed responsible for the change in Yellowstone’s visitation this past winter as compared to the previous year, depressing wheeled vehicle entries and providing a slight boost to oversnow travel.

Overall visitor numbers for December 2010 through March 2011 were down 5.36 percent from Winter 2009-2010. The decline came in the number of visitors who came by auto, bus and RV through the park’s north entrance which was off nearly 12 percent compared to the same period a year ago.

The number of snowmobile visitors was up slightly this year, after dropping off significantly between Winter 2007-2008 and Winter 2008-2009. The number of snowcoach visitors also dropped between those same two winters, but has also rebounded and this past winter was slightly larger than the number of people who entered the park by snowmobile.

December through March Visitation

Winter
2010-2011
Winter
2009-2010
Winter
2008-2009
Winter
2007-2008
Total Recreational  Vis1tors 88,804 93,838 86,784 99,975
Auto,  Bus and RV (North  Entrance) 47,930 54,426 47,259 50,175
By Snowmobile and Snowcoach 45,465 42,616 42,380 53,764
Snowmobile V1sitors 22,691 22,228 23,417 31,420
Snowcoach Vis1tors 22,774 20,388 18,963 22,344

This past winter, Yellowstone operated under a temporary winter use plan, which allowed for up to 318 commercially guided, best available technology snowmobiles, and 78 commercial snowcoaches a day in the park. The two-year temporary plan expired at the end of this winter season.

The daily average and peak snowmobile and snowcoach activity figures include both visitors who come through the park entrances, and those who start their day from Old Faithful.

Snowmobile and  Snowcoach Activity
Winter
2010-2011
Winter
2009-2010
Winter
2008-2009
Winter
2007-2008
Snowmobiles- Daily Average 194 187 205 294
Snowmobiles- Peak Day 289 293 426 557
Snowcoaches- Daily Average 40 32 29 35
Snowcoaches- Peak Day 68 59 54 60

The National Park Service is preparing a new long-term plan to guide future management of winter use in Yellowstone. A Draft Environmental Impact Statement, which will analyze the effects of a wide range of winter use alternatives on the park and its resources, is expected to be released in early May for a 60-day review and comment period. The National Park Service intends to finish the plan and issue any new winter use regulations before the start of the 2011-2012 winter season.

One Response to Yellowstone Winter Visitation Impacted By Heavy Snowfall

  1. yellowstone national park July 8, 2011 at 10:08 am #

    Very helpful post man, thanks for the info.

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