Montana’s State Parks Enjoy Record Summer
Visitation was up 5% this summer at Montana State Parks compared to 2012, making it the best summer season on record. The Great Falls tribune reported that a total of 1.57 million people visited Montana’s 54 state parks from May through September.
In addition, Montana State Parks summer season visitation is up 12% over a three-year trend (2011-2013) and up 8 percent over a five-year trend.
“The 2013 summer season numbers are great, we saw an increase in overall visitation even though Bannack State Park was closed for seven weeks due to a flash flood,” said Chas Van Genderen, administrator for Montana State Parks.
Giant Springs State Park in Great Falls had the highest 2013 summer season visitation in the park system with 174,452 visits from May to September, an 11 percent increase over 2012.
Madison Buffalo Jump State Park, near Bozeman, saw the largest percentage increase in visitations, with visits tripling in summer 2013 compared to the previous year. Visits to Medicine Rocks State Park, near Ekalaka, doubled with more than 19,000 people visiting the park.
Most parks in the park system saw increases in visitation this summer.
Montana State Parks’ largest source of funding is the $6 annual, optional vehicle registration fee. Entrance to state parks is free to Montana residents. Montana State Parks receives no hunting and fishing licensing dollars and no general fund dollars.