Montana State Parks sees record visitation so far for 2021
By angelamontana

Posted: June 7, 2021

Mild weather during the first quarter of 2021 contributed to a record number of visitors for Montana State Parks.

MSP recorded 393,175 park visitors in the first quarter, a 20.2% increase over 2020 and a 78% increase over the same period in 2019. Of the 40 state parks that were seasonally open during this period, 80% experienced an increase in estimated visitation compared with last year.

Day use and camping occupancy are projected to rise across the state during the spring and summer months.

“As our parks prepare to welcome people from across our state, the country and the world, we continue to prioritize unparalleled customer service and public safety for our guests and staff,” said Beth Shumate, parks division administrator with Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks. “Our 55 parks, including seven National Historic Landmarks, truly tell the story of the Treasure State. We look forward to a successful season and hope that our parks create lasting memories for all our visitors.”

The top five most visited state parks in Q1 2021 were:
1. Giant Springs State Park Great Falls – 81,979 visits (up 7.8%)
2. Spring Meadow Lake State Park, Helena – 33,606 visits (up 18.2%)
3. Flathead Lake State Park (All Units), Flathead Lake – 28,921 visits (down 2.4% )
4. Cooney Reservoir State Park, Roberts – 28,820 visits (up 50.3%)
5. Lake Elmo State Park, Billings – 27,316 visits (up 13.4%)

Visitation snapshot for the first quarter of 2021:

Below is a list of the most highly visited state parks in each of FWP’s administrative regions:

Northwest Montana (Kalispell): Flathead Lake State Park (all units) had the highest visitation in the region with an estimated 28,921 visits, a decrease of 2.4% over the same time period last year.

West Montana (Missoula): Milltown State Park had the highest visitation in the region with an estimated 17,358 visits, an increase of 116.1% over the same time period last year.

Southwest Montana (Bozeman): Missouri Headwaters State Park had the highest visitation in the region with an estimated 9,200 visits, a decrease of 11% over the same time period last year.

North-central Montana (Great Falls): Giant Springs State Park had the highest visitation in the region, with an estimated 81,979 visits, an increase of 7.8% over the same time period last year.

South-central Montana (Billings): Cooney Reservoir State Park had the highest visitation in the region with an estimated 28,820 visits, an increase of 50.3% over the same time period last year.

Eastern Montana (Miles City): Makoshika State Park had the highest visitation in the region with an estimated 20,248 visits, an increase of 32.3% over the same time period last year.

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