COVID-19 old faithful

COVID-19 precautions are in place at Yellowstone National Park.

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — Yellowstone National Park and Grand Teton National Park reported their highest number of visitors for October.

Yellowstone hosted more than 360,000 paying guests, up 110% from the same month in 2019, The Billings Gazette reported Tuesday. Its previous October record for tourists was in 2015, when just over 252,000 people visited the nearly 3,500 square-mile (9,065 square-kilometer) national park.

Grand Teton, Yellowstone's neighbor to the south, reported more than 351,000 visitors in October, a figure up 88% year-over-year. The park's previous October record number of tourists was in 2018, when the park saw more than 207,000 visitors.

Glacier National Park in the north also recorded a substantial spike in guests in October despite closing its east entrances. The national park reported more than 125,000 visitors, a stark increase from the 78,000 tourists the park reported in 2018. The park has averaged about 85,000 visitors over the past three years.

Yellowstone has hosted about 3,740,000 people in 2020, down only 6% from the same time last year despite the park being closed for nearly two months due to the coronavirus pandemic. The national park was closed from March 24 to May 18, when its two Wyoming entrances reopened. Its three Montana entrances did not open until June 1.

At Grand Teton, roughly 3,170,000 people have visited the national park compared to about 3,310,000 people at the same time in 2019 — a 4.2% drop.

Every road in Yellowstone except the highway between Mammoth Hot Springs and Cooke City is now closed to cars. The road from the park's North Entrance to its Northeast Entrance is open year-round.

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