MOSCOW, October 13 (Reuters) – Yellowstone National Recreation Area in Wyoming will begin the process of closing the last of its visitor areas to vehicles in 2019, officials said on Monday.
Yellowstone National Park, which opened to the public in 1872, has seen a surge in visitors, but is still struggling to attract the sort of tourists who flock to the Grand Canyon or Yellowstone National Parks in Colorado and Utah.
Visitors have driven to the park for two decades, but it is now in the final stages of a program that is aimed at diversifying the visitor base and encouraging more tourists to visit.
Park Superintendent Mike Davenport said in a statement on Monday that the closing of the last visitor areas will allow the park to focus on the future.
The last visitors to the area will be allowed to return in 2020, he said.
Visitor numbers in the park have been steadily declining for years.
In 2019, the park reported a 2.2 percent drop in visitors and an 11 percent drop overall.
Visitation to the parks has dropped in the past decade, and in 2020 visitors were only 8.7 percent higher than the year before, Daventon said.