Did Heavy Snow Tamp Down Yellowstone National Park's Winter Visitation?
Too much snow might not have been a good thing at Yellowstone National Park this past winter, as park officials suggest heavy snows might have discouraged people from visiting the park.
While there was a "slight boost" to over-snow travel in the park, Yellowstone officials say there also was a decline in wheeled-vehicle entries, which during winter are restricted to Mammoth and the road through the Lamar Valley to the park's northeast entrance.
Overall visitor numbers for December 2010 through March 2011 were down 5.36 percent from winter 2009-2010, according to Yellowstone statisticians.
"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," they said. "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."
Snowmobile and snowcoach visitor numbers were almost equal this past winter, with 22,691 arriving on snowmobile and 22,774 coming aboard snowcoaches.