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Glacier National Park traffic spikes, but still far behind normal

Posted at 5:40 PM, Jul 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-16 10:56:40-04

WEST GLACIER —  Glacier National Park's overall traffic is down significantly this year because of the pandemic shutdowns.

And while there's been a dramatic spike in visits over the past few weeks, the pace of traffic was still not even half of what we would normally see in June…

Glacier has been operating on a limited opening basis ever since the pandemic erupted this spring. That began to change in June as more facilities on the west side re-opened.

However, park visits remain far behind the record pace we've seen in recent seasons.

The latest statistics from the National Park Service show 2-hundred, 2-thousand visitors came to the park in June. All of that traffic came through West Entrance, Camas and Polebridge with the Blackfeet Tribe still enforcing safety closures on the east side.

But even then, that's far behind the early summer visits we'd normally see. More than half-a-million (544,088) visitors came to Glacier last June.

Overall, park traffic is down by more than 67-percent through the end of June, with 258,750 visitors year-to-date. Last year, nearly 8,000 people had already been to the park at this point.

Numbers are expected to be much more robust after this week's opening of the Going-to-the-Sun Road to Logan Pass. But it seems likely this year's totals could be half of what we've seen in recent seasons.

Total overnight stays show some of the most dramatic drop, with the number of people sleeping in the park down 91-percent in June, and off more than 92-percent this year.