After all, in the past year or so we've heard that park visitation was hurting due to high gasoline prices, rising entrance fees, and the economy, among other things. If the following numbers indicate a trend for the entire system, it could prove to be a very busy year in the parks.
In Yosemite, the early numbers have been up 10 percent over last year's, something park officials are attributing to a gorgeous spring and a snowpack that quickly melted and opened up more camping earlier than usual.
In Yellowstone, June visitation was up 9.2 percent to 608,000 compared to a year ago, and year-to-date visitation is up 9.9 percent. “When I talked with folks in surrounding communities or our concession operators, the feeling in June was that we were busier than usual," park spokesman Al Nash tells me.
Finally, in Glacier the folks at Glacier Park Incorporated, the main concessionaire, tell me their business in June was 24 percent ahead of last year. And what may be of interest only to me, they say more and more folks are coming to the park via train, using Amtrak and disembarking at either East Glacier or West Glacier where they can either rent a car or simply use the Red Jammers to tour the park.