MOOSE, WY-Grand Teton National Park experienced record visitation August 18-21, as visitors traveled to the park to view the total solar eclipse. Park traffic data collection indicates that compared to the same days in 2015 and 2016, the park saw an approximate 40 percent increase of park visits.
Grand Teton National Park Superintendent David Vela said, “Experiencing this extraordinary natural event was an once-in-a-lifetime experience for many of our visitors and staff. We are proud to have shared this event, safely, with so many people from across the world.”
The park saw an increase in visitation on the days leading up to the eclipse, as well as the day following the event. Park concession-operated campgrounds were near capacity, and for the first time in park history, all backcountry permits were issued for three days straight, the days leading to the eclipse.
Vela said, “We greatly appreciate the work of our partners and friends at the Bridger-Teton National Forest that helped provide overnight camping opportunities for visitors. This was instrumental in providing overflow camping for visitors near the park boundary.”
Grand Teton Association, an official park partner that operates the bookstores at park visitor centers, had a record-setting sales weekend as well. Most eclipse materials were sold out on Sunday, August 20. The entire weekend and day of the eclipse shattered sales records, including last year’s National Park Service Centennial records.
The park encouraged visitors to view the eclipse from five viewing areas across the park, with the largest viewing area along the center path of totality and Gros Ventre Road. The park managed the situation with an “all-hands-on-deck” plan. Park employees and volunteers that were not responsible for basic operational needs for the day were assigned as park ambassadors throughout the park to staff pullouts, parking areas, trailheads, and intersections.
Vela remarked, “I am proud of park staff and volunteers, as well as the many individuals with local, state and federal organizations within the community, that worked hard to prepare for increased visitation and the associated challenges of a total solar eclipse.”