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Record-breaking year for Rocky Mountain National Park

Posted at 5:46 PM, Feb 13, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-13 19:46:00-05
Rocky Mountain National Par
Aspens changing in Rocky Mountain National Park. Photo courtesy of Kristi Bevsek

LOVELAND – Officials say nearly 4.6 million people visited Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado last year, breaking the park’s attendance record.

The Loveland Daily Reporter-Herald reports nearly 73,000 more people visited the park last year than in 2016, the previous record-holding year.

The number of visitors last year represented a 3.5% increase from 2017’s attendance numbers.

The increased attendance also revealed a continuing trend. People tend to visit the park most during the fall, especially on weekends.

Seven of the 10 busiest days in the park were in September when fall colors begin appearing and elk are bugling. The three other busiest days were in July and August.

Park spokeswoman Kyle Patterson says the high numbers in September offset the monthly visitation drop in the last few months of the years.

Since 2016, park staff has restricted vehicle access in three specific areas — Bear Lake Road, Wild Basin, and the Alpine Visitor Center — during times of congestion and when parking areas are full. Most days in July and August and weekends in June and September saw these restrictions in place.

Patterson advises residents to be aware of these restrictions and plan accordingly.

Park planners are looking at new concepts to address the different challenges that come with increased visitation. Details will be released later this year through a planning process involving stakeholders, a press release states.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report)