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Most Montanans think tourism is overcrowding the state, survey says

A graph titled 'Montana Residents: Attitudes Towards Tourism 2021.' The graph shows that 56% of respondents agree that 'In recent years, the state is becoming overcrowded because of more tourists.' That number was just above 25% from 2002 - 2017 when it began a sharp increase.
Institute for Tourism and Recreation Research
A University of Montana tourism survey released in March of 2022 shows that more Montanans than ever think tourism is overcrowding the state and impacting their quality of life.

More than half of Montana residents — more than ever before — believe the state is becoming overcrowded, according to survey results published this month by a UM research group.

UM’s Institute of Tourism and Recreation Research says survey data from November and December, 2021 shows that most Montanans agree that tourism is good for the economy and believe that the benefits outweigh the negatives.

But Jeremy Sage, the group’s interim director, says that for the first time in the last 20 years, the majority of residents are starting to think that the state is becoming overcrowded with tourists.

"Generally, people have always felt that, you know, if tourism increases, that quality of life for Montana residents will improve. And that's changed a bit in the last two years."

Sage says an increase in new residents is also frustrating long-term Montanans.

The Institute of Tourism and Recreation Research has been tracking the views of Montanans about tourism for about two decades.

Kristine de Leon covers Butte and Southwest Montana for MTPR. Before barging onto the radio, she worked as a newspaper reporter in Butte and eastern Oregon. She’s also had stints working as a digital producer for a TV news station and moonlighting as a coder/web developer.
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