FILE - Grand Teton National Park

Hikers gather at the summit of Inspiration Point in Grand Teton National Park.

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(The Center Square) – Grand Teton National Park set a new annual visitation record in September with three months still remaining in the year, according to preliminary data from the National Park Service (NPS).

The park, located in western Wyoming, has had 3,493,937 recreation visits through September, already more than the previous annual record of 3,491,151 in 2018. The park's annual data won't be finalized until early next year.

September was the second busiest month on record with 570,584 recreation visits, according to the agency. That’s down from 603,789 in September 2020, but up from 517,265 in September 2019.

Grand Teton had 3,289,638 total recreational visits last year during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The agency said park staff conducted “visitor-use and experience studies” this summer and monitored vehicle movement throughout the park. 

“Park staff are analyzing data and studies conducted over the summer to better understand changing visitation trends in Grand Teton,” NPS said in a news release. “Historically, July and August have been the busiest months of the year at the park. Recent trends include increased visitation in the spring and fall.”

A spokesperson for the park did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

In 2020, the park’s nearly 3.3 million visitors spent an estimated $598 million in neighboring “gateway” communities and accounted for $754 million in economic output, the NPS’ annual spending report says.

Yellowstone National Park to the north has also had a record-breaking year with 4.47 million visits so far through September. The park’s previous annual record was 4.25 million recreational visits in 2016.

This article originally ran on thecentersquare.com.

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