- November 8, 2019

Park Study Reveals Interesting Stats

by Jackson Hole Radio News

A peer-reviewed report summarizing the results of Yellowstone’s 2018 Visitor Use Study has been released. The National Park Service contracted Otak Inc., RRC Associates, and The University of Montana Institute for Tourism Recreation Research to conduct the study to help better understand how visitors experience the park in real time, across the summer season, and across different parts of the park. While a 2016 Visitor Use Study had surveyed people who visited in early August after they had departed from the park, the 2018 Visitor Use Study used in-person interviews and GPS-based tablets to survey visitors in real time as they traveled through the park. The study was conducted during one week of each month from May through September 2018. Survey results indicate that 85% of respondents thought their experience in the park was good or excellent, with the top three reasons for visiting being scenery, wildlife, and thermal features. Approximately 67% of the surveyed visitors were in the park for their first-time. Overall, 92% waited less than ten minutes to enter the park. Most frequently, visitors cited the crowding of the more popular attractions, rating Old Faithful and Canyon Village the least problematic of them. Superintendent Cam Sholly says the study provides very actionable information on how the park can better manage and plan for increasing visitation. A record 4,000-plus people responded to the survey.