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Glacier Park Annual Visitation Tops 2.16 Million
National park drew one of its highest visitor totals on record
Terry Colbert, from Corvallis, Ore., photographs a Glacier National Park red bus parked outside the Lake McDonald Post Office. - File photo by Lido Vizzutti/Flathead Beacon
Glacier National Park drew one of the highest visitation totals in its 101-year history in 2012.

The number of recreational visits surpassed 2.16 million last year, a 12.9 percent increase over 2011 and one of the three highest totals on record, according to the National Park Service Public Use Statistics Office.

After a busy peak season, visitation leveled off in December at 10,082, a 4.5 percent decrease over the same time last year. The overall year-to-date visitor numbers still reached 2,162,254. It was the third time in four years that visitation broke 2 million.

For the entire year, Saint Mary’s saw the largest spike in popularity by percentage. The site drew roughly 505,000 visitors, a 34 percent rise over 2011. Many Glacier experienced an 18.5 percent increase, attracting roughly 277,000. Aided by the availability of the Going-to-the-Sun Road, the west entrance remained the most popular section with more than 955,000 travelers. The Walton and Goat Lick area drew more than 90,000, a 12 percent rise. Camas attracted roughly 84,000, a 10.5 percent increase.

Overnight concession lodgings rose 22 percent in 2012, reaching about 126,000. Overnight stays for motorhomes rose almost 13 percent. Group campers dropped 52 percent.

For a complete list of visitation numbers for Glacier Park, visit irma.nps.gov/Stats/Reports/ReportList.
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