The dramatic changes in the shoulder seasons

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Posted by TravelingBear ( on 20:25:28 08/11/17

In Reply to: Scary observations on park crowding posted by Ballpark Frank

Back in the "good old days" I turned from visiting during the summer to the shoulder seasons. It was nice. It was peaceful.

Then, starting in 2009, the shoulder seasons began a relentless climb in visitation, partly fueled by busloads of Asian tourists.

I've become a student of Yellowstone visitation statistics. Here are the top five increases from 2009 to 2016. I compare only the full months, not March and November, since the number of days the park is open during those partial months varies a lot due to the calendar.

April - up 138.6%
October - up 95.4%
May - up 69.9%
September - up 43.4%
June - up 30.2%

The saturation point for the carrying capacity of the park (parking, accommodations, etc.) for July and August was reached a decade ago and the numbers show that. Again the stats are from 2009 to 2016.

July - up 10.6%
August - up 11.7%

Even though the recently published numbers show that there are more European than Asian visitors, cultural differences in crowd behavior often make it seem the other way around.

The NPS has hired Mandarin-speaking rangers but I sure wish they would educate the American bus drivers. Stopping in the middle of the roadway to let your passengers out for a photo op should result in a very hefty fine.

We are loving our park to the point where changes are inevitable. The current situation is not sustainable.

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