Glacier visitation eclipses 3 million

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Visitors walk the shores of Avalanche Lake in September.

October was a slow month in Glacier National Park, but it was still enough to push visitation over the 3 million mark for the year.

Through October, the Park saw 3.014 million visitors, second only to 2017, when about 3.3 million people turned the gates.

Visitation to the east side of the Park was down a bit over last year — St. Mary for the year is down about 5 percent and Two Medicine was down 7.7 percent, but the West Entrance was up 17.4 percent, which more than made up for it.

About half — 48 percent — of all park visitors go through the west entrance.

October was largely a bad weather month in Glacier, with snow and plenty of cold, which closed roads, particularly east side roads, for weeks, which would explain the lower visitation.

Two Medicine, for example, was down 47 percent over last October.

The backcountry was also a busy place this year in Glacier, with 34,728 campers, up 7.5 percent over last year, which saw wildfires which closed several campgrounds last summer.

Camping in general was up in the Park, RV overnight stays were up 15 percent for the year, tent stays were up 7 percent and concessions lodging at the lodges and hotels was up 12 percent over last year.

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