Glacier National Park Sets Visitation Record

NPS is on track to set new high mark.
Glacier National Park

Glacier National Park set a visitation record with 2.35 million visitors so far this year. (Photo by GlacierNPS/Flickr)

Glacier National Park in Montana has attracted 2.35 million people this year through November, breaking its previous record of 2.33 million last year.

This is the eighth year out of the past 12 that the park has seen over 2 million annual visitors. According to NPS statistics, the park only hosted that many people five times prior to 2004.

The park service as a whole is on track to break its overall visitation record, with more visitors at the parks in the first 10 months of this year than ever before; NPS’s Public Use Statistics Office put the number at 272.5 million visitors through October.

Other popular parks—like Yellowstone, which surpassed 4 million visits by the end of October—are seeing similar trends. But it’s not only the “crown jewels” getting the love: Many lesser-known parks and lands are also exceeding previous records this year.

“With every visit to national parks, people write themselves a prescription for the health benefits that come when enjoying these natural and historical wonders,” NPS Director Jonathan Jarvis said. “Americans have loved the national parks for a century and more. Our aim now is to help the next generation become not only visitors but park supporters and advocates, too.”

With the NPS's centennial coming up on August 25, 2016, even more people are expected to visit the parks in the coming year. The NPS has just announced it will be offering 16 free days during 2016, giving visitors an extra free week to explore the lands that the agency manages.