Posted: Jan 11, 2013 11:02 AM by Dennis Bragg - MTN News
WEST GLACIER - Glacier National Park's visitation climbed by near 13% this past year, with over 2 million people coming through the park's gates in 2013.
The annual report released by the National Park Service shows the total number of visitors hit a very robust 2.16 million. That's an increase of 12.9% over the 1.9 million people who came to Glacier in 2011.
The increase was seen in strong numbers throughout the year, although visitation fell off in December.
Nearly half of those people, 955,000 in all, entered the park through the West Glacier entrance station, heading to destinations ranging from the popular Going-to-The-Sun Road to Lake McDonald and destinations on the west side of the park. St. Mary's accounted for just over 500,000. St. Mary's saw the biggest increase, with a 34% jump in visitors entering the park in that valley.
All entrance stations at the park showed some increase in traffic.
Lodges continued to be a major draw, with over 126,000 visitors staying in one of the park's historic structures, a 22% increase. However, group camping dropped in popularity, down by more than 52%.
Use of concession buses dropped considerably this year, down by as much as 93% at the West Entrance.