National Parks Use Rises as COVID Restrictions Wane

Tabatha Wethal Headshot

As restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic wane, U.S. national parks are seeing attendance hikes compared to 2019 numbers, CNN reported.

According to a news release, Yellowstone National Park saw the most visitors recorded for the month of May with more than 483,100 attendees. That's roughly an 11% increase from May 2019, the park said. Last year, the park was closed for more than half of May, and reopened two of its five entrances for the rest of the month.

Grand Teton National Park, in Wyoming, also set a May record with more than 363,700 visitors, the park said in a news release.

That's about 30% more than May 2019 numbers -- and also a park visitation record for that month.

"Camping in the park increased 93% in May 2021 compared to May 2019, while backcountry camping increased 117%. Trail use in the park increased 70% in May, compared to May 2019, on trails that use is counted," the park said.

National parks across the country saw a 28% decrease in visitors in 2020 compared to the year before, largely due to temporary closures and other pandemic-restrictions, according to the National Park Service. About 66 out of the 423 parks in the National Park System were fully closed for at least two months, the service said in a news release earlier this year.

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