Visits to Glacier Down in 2008

By Beacon Staff

A late opening of Going-to-the-Sun Road and record-high gas prices wre among the reasons Glacier National Park saw fewer visitors in 2008.

The National Park Service Statistics Office reported that Glacier’s 2008 visitation was down 2.5 percent from the previous year — from 2,083,328 guests to 2,030,502.

Winter conditions in the park continued well into June, delaying the full opening of the park’s scenic road until July 2.

Park officials say gasoline prices exceeding $4 per gallon also had an effect on Glacier’s tourism.

Park visitation was down 8.5 percent for the first seven months of the year, but a 17 percent increase in August boosted the numbers.