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Yellowstone visits hit record high in 2021, straining staff

FILE - In this May 21, 2011 file photo, tourists photograph Old Faithful erupting on schedule...
FILE - In this May 21, 2011 file photo, tourists photograph Old Faithful erupting on schedule late in the afternoon in Yellowstone National Park, Wyo. On Tuesday, March 24, 2020 the National Park Service announced that Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks would be closed until further notice, and no visitor access will be permitted to either park..(AP Photo/Julie Jacobson, File)(KMVT)
Published: Jan. 24, 2022 at 6:39 PM CST
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MAMMOTH HOT SPRINGS, Wyo. (AP) — A record number of visitors flocked to Yellowstone National Park last year despite fewer hotel rooms and campsites being available because of the coronavirus pandemic and construction projects.

Just over 4.86 million visits were tallied in 2021, breaking the prior record set in 2016. Known worldwide for its wildlife and thermal features such as the Old Faithful geyser, Yellowstone will mark its 150th anniversary in 2022.

A rush of visitors from May through September last year strained employees and visitor services even as the park was understaffed because of employee housing caps and difficulty recruiting workers.

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