Montana State Parks see increase in visitation

HELENA – Montana State Parks recorded more than 1.5 million visitors from January through June of this year. Compared with same time period last year, visitation increased by 11.1% and increased 44.1% in comparison with 2019 visitation. Of the 45 state parks that were seasonally open during the first half of the year, 27 experienced an increase in estimated visitation compared with last year.

“For the second straight year, the state parks system has experienced significant visitation growth for the first half of the year,” said Beth Shumate, state parks division administrator. “Our staff, volunteers, and partner organizations have done an excellent job of providing a safe and inviting place for people to experience some of the most outstanding historical, cultural, and recreational opportunities that Montana has to offer.”

The top five most visited parks between January and June of this year were:

Giant Springs State Park, Great Falls – 212,329 visits (up 6.3% from last year?)

Spring Meadow Lake State Park, Helena – 152,515 visits (up 91.5%)

Flathead Lake State Park (all units), Flathead Lake – 147,003 visits (down 8.4%)

Cooney Reservoir State Park, Roberts – 124,834 visits (down 16.6%)

Lake Elmo State Park, Billings – 106,754 visits (down 11.6%)

State park snapshots from around the state:

Northwest: Flathead Lake State Park (all units) had the highest visitation in the region at 147,003, visits, a decrease of 8.4%

West: Milltown State Park had the highest visitation in the region with 48,361 visits, an increase of 88.1%

Southwest: Lewis & Clark Caverns State Park had the highest visitation in the region with 57,177 visits, an increase of 262.8%.

North-central: Giant Springs had the highest visitation in the region as well as the state at 212,329 visits; an increase of 6.3%

South-central: Cooney Reservoir State Park had the highest visitation in the region with 124,834 visits, a decrease of 16.6%.

Southeast: Makoshika State Park had the highest visitation in the region with 72,650 visits, an increase of 24.3%.