Blog Cabin

Entries in Montana tourism (10)


December visits will add to Glacier National Park record 

Dennis Bragg photo (WEST GLACIER)- It's all gravy from here.

And however many visitors decide to see Glacier National Park will only add to the park's new annual visitation record. 

Last week the the park set a new visitation record for the second year in a row, a mark reached despite a summer which brought fire closures that interfered with tourism.

There had been some questions in mid-summer whether Glacier would be able to come close to the record set in 2014, after a major fire in the St. Mary valley shut down the Going-to-the-Sun Highway, lodging and campgrounds for a couple of weeks.  

But even with the road's closure, park visits remained strong through the balance of the summer and into the fall. 


The park's November report shows the visitor total at 2.35 million people, easily outpacing the the 2.3 million people that had gone through the park gates at the end of November last year. It also breaks the latest record that had just been set last year at 2.1 million visitors. 

It's the sixth time in the past decade Glacier has had more than 2-million visitors. 


Glacier sets new all-time record for visits

(WEST GLACIER)- There are still three months to go, but Glacier National Park has already set a new all-time record for park visits, topping the previous record that's more than 3-decades old.

Glacier has been on a near-record pace all year long, despite a slow start to the summer and a few snowy spells that closed the popular Going-to-the-Sun Road. 

According to the latest statistics released by the National Park Service today, Glacier has seen more than 2.2-million recreation visitors pass through the gates through September 30th. The actual number is 2,238,761.

That's not only almost 39-thousand more people than the most recent near-record year during the park's centennial in 2010, it also shatters Glacier's previous all-time record of 2,203,847 visitors back in the 1983. And it means any visits between now and the end of December will add to the new record. 

The park had come close to record territory in 2012 and again in 2013, but a combination of wintery weather and last year's government shutdown had stopped the total short of the 1983 record. 

By comparison, only 4,000 people visited the park in its first full season in 1911. 


Glacier Park visitor rate remains strong 

Dennis Bragg photo(WEST GLACIER)- The latest reports show Glacier National Park remains on pace to possibly break the 30-year old visitation record, with nearly 1.9 million people coming through the park gates by the end of August. 

That puts the park on project to possibly beat the 1983 record of 2.2 million people, but just as importantly, could be the busiest year since the park's centennial in 2010. 

However, early fall weather could cut the number of visitors, especially if the weather trends continue through September. There's also the threat of another government shutdown, such as cut park visitation off last fall, although Congress has pledged to not let that happen.


Glacier visits up this summer

Glacier National Park photo(WEST GLACIER)- Glacier National Park is having another solid year for park visits, with the latest numbers showing visitation up more than 3% in July. 

The latest report from the National Park Service shows more than 1.2-million people have gone through the park's gates during the current fiscal year, although the pace of total visits has still been running a little behind the pace of year-to-date visitors through July. 

By the end of July last year 1,156,976 recreation visitors had come to the park to hike, sightsee, camp or stay overnight in one of the park's lodges. This year 1,120,873 visitors had come to the park. But compared over the fiscal year, visitation is up 3.2%

The most popular way to come into the park has been at West Glacier, where visits are up 8.3%. St. Mary's remains the second most-popular entrance station. Other places in the park were comparable with last year, although Polebridge, and the Walton-Goat Lick area had dropped. 

Total overnight stays are up 6.5%, although there's been a significant drop in group camping, which is off by more than 63%. Tent camping is up by more than 14% above last year. 



Missoula makes cut in competition to host tourism conference

Dennis Bragg photo(MISSOULA)- Missoula has not only made the cut in the competition to host a nationwide tourism conference this fall, but has emerged as one of the early front-runners.

Voting closed Friday morning in the nomination round for cities competing to host the "SoMeT" Conference this coming November, a symposium that focuses entirely on the use of social media in the tourism industry. This is the fourth year of the event, which was held in El Paso, Texas last year. 

Destination Missoula, which is promoting the conference voting, says the conference can have a huge impact on tourism for both the Garden City and Montana as a whole, generating thousands of social media messages during the conference, potentially reaching millions of people. 

In the initial round of online voting that ended today, Missoula came in second in the balloting, capturing over 1600-votes out of the 11,000 votes that were cast. Huntsville, Alabama was first with more than 2300-votes. 

Other cities in the "Elite Eight" are Milwaukee, Cleveland and Indianapolis as well as St. Petersburg, Florida, Branson, Missouri and Grand Rapids, Michigan. 

The next round of voting for Missoula against Grand Rapids is set for next Wednesday, starting at 8 a.m. Wednesday and lasting for 12-hours. If Missoula can make it through that voting, it would be one of four competing. The final choice should be made in early April.