The coronavirus pandemic is not keeping visitors away from Yellowstone National Park, where attendance last month hit nearly 1 million, a 2% increase from July 2019.
Park officials today said they hosted 955,645 visitors during the month.
The park in Wyoming and Montana has long ranked as one of the most popular in the nation, though overall attendance has suffered this year.
So far, through July of this year, the park has drawn a total of 1,664,830 visitors. That’s a drop of 27.5% from the same time period last year.
The National Park Service closed the park March 24, citing health and safety reasons. But all five park entrances have been reopened since June 1, with the first two in Wyoming welcoming back visitors May 18.
Yellowstone officials have one of the most aggressive COVID-19 testing programs of all parks and, unlike most others, routinely report their results.
Last month, park officials said several workers had been quarantined after two concession employees and three visitors tested positive. The park also said more than 1,000 of Yellowstone’s "front-line employees" have been tested over the previous eight weeks, with zero positives (Greenwire, July 29).
The three visitors who tested positive all sought medical assistance at Yellowstone clinics after falling ill. Yellowstone Superintendent Cam Sholly urged potential visitors to stay away from the park if they are experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19.
"You end up putting our employees, health care providers and other visitors at risk," he said.