Yet again, Glacier National Park has set new attendance records as visitors flocked to the park during the 100th anniversary of the National park System.

Spokesman Tim Rains said the increase in visitors was truly impressive.

"First and foremost, 2.7 million visitors to date so far this year, that's up 20 percent from the previous year, and as we look at all the numbers, September is up 33 percent, May was up 30 percent," Rains said. "That means our shoulder seasons visitations are up, our seasons are longer, and we're starting to experience that."

Rains said park officials and the surrounding communities are meeting this fall to discuss the numbers and the impact they will have on the park in the future.

"Overall we're seeing an increasing trend, and it's not just here, we're seeing it in the entire Yellowstone and Yukon corridor," he said. "Much of the reason is low gas prices, we have the National Park Service's centennial, and even though we didn't have a full month of good weather, the visitors came anyway. But, regardless of all that, they're here, and what can we do to improve their experience at the park."

Rains said plans are already underway to improve the visitors experience.

"We're thinking of potentially expanding our shuttle service, working with our concessionaires to have increased availability of services, and a reservation system for Going to the Sun Road, I'd like to say that nothing is off the table at this point," he said. "We want to see that visitors that come here for solitude can find it, but those that come here and quickly get on the road for a sightseeing tour can all have a quality experience."

Rains said visitors need to know that the park is open year-round.

"The park is always open, but we do have the Apgar visitors center is now open on weekends only from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. but if you want to access park information, come to West Glacier park headquarters during the summer and we'll help you plan your trip."



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