By Montana Grant

Posted: September 16, 2021

Montana hosts around 1 million residents. The number goes up and down as new folks move in or move out. Winters have a way of making hat happen. Most tourists visit Montana when the weather is nice, the sun is shining, and our state looks so inviting.

For many, Yellowstone Park is the destination that introduces tourists to Montana. Even though you can enter Yellowstone from Idaho, Wyoming, and Montana, many feel like Montana is the place to go.

Who can argue with what a great place Montana is?

Big Sky, and other rich locations are growing. Big Sky has doubled in size in the past decade. Bozeman was around 25,000 people in 2000. There were more horses in the Gallatin Valley than people. Ever since A River Runs Through It came out, lots of new folks have decided to make Montana their home.

The tourists that visited Yellowstone Park last month, exceeded the total population of the state of Montana! It’s been this way for months. Maybe it’s the last gasp of Covid concerned people that hit the road during the quarantine and got paid to boot.

What’s going to happen when the busloads of international travelers return to Yellowstone? We have all seen the flag waving groups trooping together through the park. The major hotels on the east end of West Yellowstone, were built specifically to cater to these groups.

At the very beginning of the Covid Pandemic, I took a trip to Yellowstone Park the first week it opened, in June. We entered the Park through West and spent the day. There was no line at the gate. I failed to see another car, camper, or truck on the road from the entrance to the Firehole River. We watched Old Faithful erupt with maybe 100 other folks. What a grand day!

The Park has been so crowded that it is nearly impossible to find a place to park at the main sites. This is without the international busloads of visitors that are currently not traveling. Most tourists are Americans!

Normally, May, September and October are my favorite months to visit the park. We will give it a go but last September and October were just as crowded as this August.

We are seeing our world change. Our fisheries, Parks, communities, and open spaces are evolving.

Certainly, the crowds produce revenue for the states. If Montana had a state sales tax, these tourists could foo the bill for residents. Sadly, Montana residents moved here to enjoy the park, rivers, and mountains also. With these HUGE crowds, we simply can’t compete.

Big Sky Country has become the next most crowded place!

Montana Grant