If you’ve hiked, biked, camped or recreated in some other way in Grand Teton National Park this September, you’ve contributed to the park’s all-time high number of recreation visits for any September on record.
The estimated 603,789 visits logged in September 2020 is a 17% increase from last September's 517,265.
The park of 310,000 acres cited an increase in hiking of 54%, an increase in camping at concession-operated campgrounds of 24% and an increase in backcountry camping of 79% compared to September 2019.
While the park did not attribute a cause for the increased recreational use, the Jackson Hole region has kept up a lively local recreation crowd and tourism industry throughout the COVID-19 pandemic as many people are no longer tied to their offices or a strict work schedule.
Grand Teton’s counterpart, 2.2-million-acre Yellowstone National Park, reported last week that its own record for September visits was set this year at 837,000, a 16% increase from the previous high logged in 2018.
With the tourism industry still going strong in the region, the National Park Service reminded visitors to recreate responsibly and follow CDC, local and state guidelines, such as social distancing and wearing face coverings indoors and at highly trafficked outdoor locations.
Park facilities in both Grand Teton and Yellowstone have begun seasonal closures, so, while there is still time to contribute to October’s recreation numbers, officials recommend confirming that destinations are open before making the trip. Signal Mountain Campground, the only seasonally operated campground still open, will close on Oct. 18. The Craig Thomas Discovery and Visitor Center will close on Oct. 31, as will Moose-Wilson Road and Teton Park Road.
Some of Yellowstone's fall lodging and dining is closing earlier than planned. More information on those closures are reported in today's Jackson Hole Daily in the article, "No winter lodging planned at Old Faithful for first time in nearly 50 years."