Yellowstone National Park recorded the second busiest August on record, according to a news release Thursday.

The park hosted 881,543 visitors in August, up 7.5% from 820,006 in August 2019.

The reason for the high number, especially in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, is unknown.

Park spokesman Ashton Hooker said in an email, "It's tough to say what has caused these August visitation numbers, as we don't normally track this kind of data (and we don't want to speculate)."

This August came in second to August 2017, the month of the solar eclipse, when 916,166 visited the park.

Overall, visitation has been down this year.

So far in 2020, the park has hosted 2,546,373 recreation visits through August since opening, down 18% from the same period last year.

Yellowstone closed on March 24.

The two Wyoming entrances opened on May 18, and the three Montana entrances opened on June 1.

This list below shows the year-to-date trend for recreation visits over recent years:

  • 2020 – 2,546,373.
  • 2019 – 3,114,697.
  • 2018 – 3,136,241.
  • 2017 – 3,232,707.
  • 2016 – 3,269,024.
  • 2015 – 3,133,965.

The park urges visitors to recreate responsibly to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

If you are sick, do not visit the park. Self-quarantine to avoid exposing others.

Services are limited in the park. Stay informed about changes to park operations.

Download Yellowstone's App, and visit the park's website. To reduce wait times at park entrances, buy a pass online ahead of time.

More data on park visitation, including how we calculate these numbers, is available on the NPS Stats website.

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