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National parks bring in hundreds of millions of dollars to gateway communities in Montana

The north entrance of Yellowstone National Park is bustling during the coronavirus pandemic. In July, it saw more car traffic than it did during the same month last year.
The National Park Service estimates parks like Yellowstone bring in hundreds of millions of dollars to gateway communities.

Nearly 6 million visitors to national parks spent about $729 million in Montana gateway communities last year, according to estimates released by the National Park Service last week.

That’s an increase of more than 60% from 2020, when parks saw a slow start to the summer season after the COVID-19 pandemic forced shutdowns.

Visitors spent over one-third of their travel money on lodging, and over 16% on dining.

Gateway communities near Yellowstone National Park drew the seventh-highest spending of all parks nationwide, while communities near Glacier National Park drew the eleventh highest.

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Austin Amestoy