Posted: Sep 24, 2013 4:57 PM by Dennis Bragg - MTN News
WEST GLACIER - It's too soon to know if a new record will be set for the year, but the latest numbers show that visits to Glacier National Park continue on a strong pace as the seasons change.
Last year, Glacier had one of the strongest turnouts ever, with over 2.1 million visitors coming through the gates in 2012. That was an increase of nearly 13 percent for the year and one of the best years ever in the park.
This year has also been a strong one, with more than 627,000 people visiting the park in August alone, up almost 20,000 over last year.
That puts the year-to-date total at the end of August over 1.7 million visitors for the second year in a row, and more than 40,000 people ahead of last year, an increase of almost 3 percent.
Of course now that Going-to-the-Sun Road is closed to through traffic, and winter-like weather is returning to the high country, it remains to be seen whether September's visits to the park will stay on pace to match, or exceed last year's marks. Glacier will need to see a total of more than 356,000 visitors this month in order to stay ahead of 2012.
Since 1979 the largest number of visitors came to the park in 1983, when more than 2.2 million people visited Glacier, just a few thousand ahead of the most recent "high water" mark in 2010.