(CNN) – Yellowstone National Park has done it again.
That number is 872,695 recreational visits, a National Park Service press release said on Tuesday. This is an increase of 4% compared to September 2020.
Perhaps even more remarkable is the record number of visitors since the start of the year.
So far in 2021, Yellowstone has recorded 4,463,599 leisure visits, up 32% from the same period in 2020. It is as if the entire state of Oregon is visiting Yellowstone and inviting over 200,000 friends.
This is the first time the park has surpassed the 4 million visitor mark so early in the year, even before the pandemic, the NPS said.
Busy busy busy
“Never in the history of Yellowstone have we seen such a substantial increase in the number of visits in such a short period of time,” Superintendent Cam Sholly said in the press release.
“We will continue to work with our teams and partners to develop and implement appropriate short and long term actions to manage the increase in visits to the park. “
An influx of visitors is forcing Arches National Park in Utah to temporarily close its doors almost daily. And disappointed visitors aren’t the only consequence of overcrowding. The National Park Service is expecting one of its busiest summers on record, so Arches won’t be the only popular park where crowds might be an issue. CNN’s Lucy Kafanov reports.
This announcement comes as no surprise to people who have been part of the huge waves trying to enter popular national parks for months now.
Lots of people, lots of wild animals
You shouldn’t count on the dropping crowds too much for fall in national parks, the NPS has already warned, as people flock to the outdoor spaces after so long locked indoors during the pandemic.
If you plan to enjoy Yellowstone, the NPS advises you to make plans well in advance and be prepared to share the space with other travelers.
More people mean more potential wildlife encounters gone wrong. The NPS says to keep a minimum of 25 meters (23 meters) from all wildlife and 100 meters (91 meters) from bears and wolves.
Be prepared for the weather
You should also be prepared for all kinds of weather conditions in Yellowstone this time of year. After all, it’s located in Northwestern Wyoming, and reaches a bit of Idaho and Montana.
The NPS says “snow is common in the spring and fall with regular accumulations of 12 inches.”
in fact, on Wednesday at 6:45 p.m. local time, the temperature in the park was 20 degrees Fahrenheit (almost -7 Celsius).