Montana Public Radio

Study: Yellowstone Visitors Rate Park "Excellent," Experience Declines Over Time

Nov 12, 2019
Originally published on November 12, 2019 5:54 pm

A new study from Yellowstone National Park highlights what’s working well for visitors and what could be improved.

The 2018 Visitor Use Study, published this month, is intended to help the National Park Service understand what tourists want out of their visit to Yellowstone. Officials say more than 4,000 people responded to surveys conducted from May through September last year.

Eighty-five percent of respondents said their experience in the park was good or excellent. Their top three reasons for visiting were scenery, wildlife and thermal features.

First-time visitors, nearly 70 percent of the survey participants, were less critical of crowding and traffic issues compared to repeat visitors. That changed the longer they stayed in the park.

Visitors who were in the park five or more days also reported seeing people being unsafe around wildlife and geothermal features.

Most of the congestion and parking issues were reported around Midway Geyser Basin and Fairy Falls, followed by the North/South Rims area and Norris Geyser Basin. Park officials say they’re considering local shuttle systems out of Old Faithful and Canyon Village where more parking is available.

Yellowstone is also working on and planning several big road projects to improve traffic flow and safety for visitors.

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