WEST GLACIER – The seams are bursting now with the arrival of summer weather.
But new statistics released Friday show visitation at Glacier National Park is actually behind last year’s near-record pace, at least for the first six months of 2019.
The big culprit is the weather and the slow start to the summer season. With the cool, wet weather continuing through spring all the way to last week, traffic was intermittent.
May visits were down 14% from last year, with overall traffic down more than 6% through the end of that month.
Although Going-to-the-Sun Road opened on schedule, June traffic was also down slightly from a year ago and hasn’t covered the slow pace until lately.
Now that Logan Pass is open, the Sun Road is as busy as ever. And many of the secondary destinations are seeing huge traffic over the past couple of weeks.
It could be enough to quickly fill in the year-to-date total. Just under 800,000 people had gone through the park gates by the end of June, just short of the 825,000 at the same point last year.
Two years ago, when Glacier set it’s most recent record, nearly 100,000 more people had visited the park than this year at the halfway mark.