Montana State Parks Reports Record Visitation Halfway through 2016

Overall visitation is up 23 percent for the year with nearly 1.3 million visits from January to June

By Beacon Staff
Amy Grout, park manager of the Flathead Lake State Park unit, explains the various sections of Wild Horse Island to Jeff Welch, a member on the Montana State Parks and Recreation board, and Luis Benitez, director of the Colorado Outdoor Recreation Industry Office during a tour on March 1, 2016. Benitez, Welch and others toured state parks on Flathead Lake as part of the state parks agency's multi-day conference in Kalispell identifying new trends and needs in Montana’s outdoors. Dillon Tabish | Flathead Beacon

Montana State Parks continues to see record-breaking visitation in 2016 due to increasing year-round recreation.

According to the latest visitation estimates, the agency set a monthly record for visitation during June. Over 422,000 people visited Montana’s state parks last month, which was 28,000 more than 2015 and the highest all-time for the month of June.

Montana State Parks has also seen record year-to-date park attendance. Overall visitation is up 23 percent for the year with nearly 1.3 million visits from January to June, compared to just over 1 million visits at this point in 2015; an increase of 238,000 visits.

“We are excited to have increases in visitation at our parks for the fifth year in row” said Melissa Baker, assistant administrator and chief of operations for Montana State Parks. “It’s clear that Montanans value public lands and outdoor recreation, and we are proud to be an integral part of Montana’s outdoor lifestyle and recreation economy.  The continued increase in visitation is evidence that Montana State Parks staff and volunteers consistently go the extra mile to provide great recreational experiences and high quality customer service to our visitors.”