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Yellowstone sets record for September visitors

CNN logo CNN 10/12/2020 By Jay Croft, CNN
a fire in the air with smoke coming out of it with Old Faithful in the background: Old Faithful erupts on August 26 in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming. © Ric Tapia/AP Old Faithful erupts on August 26 in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming.

Old Faithful and friends are enjoying a boost in popularity this year.

Yellowstone National Park, home of the famous geyser, had its busiest September ever, the National Park Service says.

The park hosted 837,499 recreational visits, a 21% increase from September 2019.

So far in 2020, the park has had 3,383,872 recreational visits, down 11% from the same period last year.

The park covers 3,472 square miles in Wyoming, Montana and Idaho.

It was closed March 24 because of Covid-19 precautions, the park service says. Two Wyoming entrances opened May 18 and three Montana entrances June 1.

The park's website says: "Yellowstone National Park preserves the most extraordinary collection of hot springs, geysers, mudpots, and fumaroles on Earth. More than 10,000 hydrothermal features are found here, of which more than 500 are geysers."

Other parks, including Grand Teton and Grand Canyon national parks, were closed because of the pandemic.

California's wildfires forced Yosemite National Park to close.

Among the 62 national parks, Great Smoky Mountains National Park took first place with the most visitors last year, the park service says. It was followed by Grand Canyon, Rocky Mountain, Zion and Yosemite, which nudged Yellowstone out of the Top Five.

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