Face The State: Yellowstone National Park - KRTV News in Great Falls, Montana

Face The State: Yellowstone National Park

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Mammoth Hot Springs in Yellowstone National Park (Photo from NPS-Neal Herbert) Mammoth Hot Springs in Yellowstone National Park (Photo from NPS-Neal Herbert)

Dan Wenk, the superintendent of Yellowstone National Park, talks about crowding in the park as the number of tourists continues to increase, and some of the options that park officials have in managing human-wildlife interactions.

With the busy summer months still ahead, visitation to Yellowstone National Park for the first five months of 2016 is up 14.65% compared to the previous year.

All of the park’s five entrances showed an increase in vehicles for the month of May compared to May 2015. The West Entrance recorded the largest increase in May, with 9,175  more vehicles than May 2015. The most striking increase in vehicle traffic this month was with buses. There were 48 percent more buses (594 vehicles) this May compared with May 2015. 

While many factors could be at play, park managers point to the National Park Service’s Centennial year, marketing and tourism promotions by the states of Montana and Wyoming, and lower gas prices as influences in the record number of visits to Yellowstone so far this year.

Yellowstone National Park officials have dealt with several dangerous incidents in recent weeks.

One person died after falling into a hot spring, and another person sustained serious burns in another incident.

Several people have had dangerous encounters with bison and elk, and one person died after being hit by a car while observing an eagle.

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