Visits to Yellowstone National Park declined 11 percent in August compared to a year ago, according to a news release.

The park hosted 813,970 visits in August compared to 916,166 visits in August 2017, which was the busiest August on record.

Even with this decline, year-to-date visitation in 2018 is about 23 percent higher than it was in 2013:

The list below shows the trend over the last several years through August:

  • 2018 – 3,136,250.
  • 2017 – 3,232,708.
  • 2016 – 3,269,024.
  • 2015 – 3,133,965.
  • 2014 – 2,717,039.
  • 2013 – 2,554,000.

The continued high level of visitation in the park underscores the importance of planning a Yellowstone adventure ahead of time. Visitors should anticipate delays or limited parking at popular destinations, and check current conditions before they arrive.

More data on park visitation, including the methods of calculating these numbers, is available on the National Park Service statistics website.

-- In other news, the park and the National Park Service’s Greater Yellowstone Inventory and Monitoring Network released The State of Yellowstone Vital Signs and Select Park Resources, 2017.

The 60-page report, the first since 2013, discusses the status of animal species like bison and grizzly bears, ecosystem-altering forces like climate and fire, and more.

"We are pleased to release this report to inform park staff and the public about the status and trends of our resources, and to provide updates on monitoring activities and management actions related to those resources," said Yellowstone Center for Resources Chief Jennifer Carpenter.

-- On Friday, the Steamboat Geyser erupted again for the 17th time this year.

Steamboat, which can shoot water up to 300 feet, has gone dormant for as long as nine years. Its first eruption since 2014 occurred in mid-March. Eruptions have occurred on an irregular basis during the summer. In May scientists deployed 28 seismographs around the geyser to gather data.

-- The park also has upgraded its fire danger to very high because of continued warm and dry weather across the park and no significant cooling in sight.

There are currently no fire restrictions in the park. Campfires are only permitted in fire rings in campgrounds and some backcountry campsites.

All campfires must be cold to the touch before abandoning so practice: soak, stir, feel, repeat.

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