Yellowstone study: Most visitors feel park is not overcrowded

Last month, Park Superintendent Cam Sholly said the study dispels some myths about the park
Posted at 6:01 PM, Nov 07, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-08 12:22:52-05

Yellowstone National Park has just released a study of more than 4,000 park visitors conducted in 2018.

The study was aimed at determining how the park can better handle the rapidly increasing number of people who pass through the gates.


In just seven years, from 2009 to 2016, park visitation grew by a million people a year.

But the study shows most of those people don't feel like the park is over crowded and most said they enjoyed their visit.

Sixty-seven percent of people were first time visitors. 85 percent rated their visit as a good to excellent experience. Of those surveyed, 92 percent said they waited ten minutes or less to get in the park and 86 percent said they waited less than ten minutes to find a parking place.

Last month , Park Superintendent Cam Sholly told MTN that the study dispels some myths about the park.


"The narrative that the visitors are crashing the resources of the park is inaccurate,” said Sholly. “On the infrastructure and staffing, I think that's one of my biggest concerns there. What are the impacts on the staff, how can we do better?”

The survey showed that 60 percent of groups visiting the park consisted of two people; 14 percent were three people. Seventy percent of visitors said no one in the group was 18 years old or younger.

The study was conducted one week each month from May through September using in-person interviews and GPS connected tablets for real time surveys as people traveled through the park.

Face the State: An interview with Cam Sholly, Yellowstone National Park Superintendent