Just like that, the first snowflakes of the year descended on the wild high country, representing the climactic conclusion of summer.
And what a summer it was.
In the storied history of our local icon, Glacier National Park has never been more popular than this year. Between June and August, 1.7 million people visited the Crown Jewel of the Continent, whether it was locals enjoying their pristine backyard, out-of-state visitors vacationing to a world-renowned destination or international tourists enjoying one of the most popular national parks in the U.S.
Not even 2010, the year Glacier Park celebrated its centennial, saw this many people venturing into the wild, scenic boundaries that span 1 million acres across Northwest Montana.
Early estimates are that September was potentially the busiest on record for that month, similar to August and July, which both set new high marks. July, which attracted almost 700,000 people in only 30 days of the Going-to-the-Sun Road being open to Logan Pass, was the busiest month of all-time. August nearly matched that milestone, welcoming 675,550 people to the park, a record for that month.
Now that September is in the books, and another 350,000 or so people have come and gone, it’s safe to say this year is poised for the history books.
Indeed, 2014 will most likely go down in history as the highest visitation on record, breaking the old mark of 2,203,847 people, set in 1983 and nearly broached in 2010.
Closing the chapter on a milestone summer, the Beacon looks back at this memorable season.
» Milestone Season Comes to a Close
More than a century after it was established, Glacier National Park is more popular than ever
BY DILLON TABISH
Welcoming visitors at the west entrance of Glacier National Park, Laura Mamuzich meets people from around the world on a daily basis. She and the other park rangers at the most popular entrance station like to keep track of the license plates and see who can check off all 50 states first. READ MORE
» Xanterra GM: We’re Here to Stay
Glacier National Park Lodges General Manager Marc Ducharme talks about Xanterra’s first season in the park and the concessioner’s plans for the future
BY JUSTIN FRANZ
Taking over the hospitality services in one of America’s busiest parks would be challenging in any season. But nothing could prepare Xanterra Parks & Resorts for this season. READ MORE
» Photos: Scenes from the Season
BY GREG LINDSTROM
As the summer tourism season winds to a close, look back on Glacier Park’s memorable year. VIEW MORE