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Montana State Parks sees steady visitation for the first six months of 2020

Recreation News from Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Montana State Parks recorded 1.4 million visitors from January through June of this year. Compared with same time period last year, visitation increased by 25.4 percent.  While visitation increased at nearly 80 percent of state parks across Montana, there were several parks that experienced a drop-in visitation due to facility closures, as well as the lack of school field trips and group activities attributable to COVID-19.

“Montana is fortunate to have these opportunities and FWP is committed to making sure they are available for visitors across Montana, especially during a time of uncertainty,” said Beth Shumate, Division Administrator for Montana State Parks. “The state park system provides incredible opportunities which can foster invaluable mental and physical health benefits. Through our numerous cultural and historical parks, visitors can also enjoy a wide range of educational and interpretive opportunities both in-person and now virtually. Our staff and volunteers have gone above and beyond to ensure that parks have remained open for all during this unprecedented pandemic, meeting expectations, interests, and needs of communities and citizens across the state.”

For more information on the state park midyear visitation report call Kyan Bishop at 406-444-3364. To view the complete report visit: http://stateparks.mt.gov/about-us/and click on ‘Parks Planning & Reports.’

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

  1. Giant Springs State Park, Great Falls – 199,774 visits (up 7.1%)
  2. Flathead Lake State Park (all units), Flathead Lake – 159,640 visits (up 29.6%)
  3. Cooney Reservoir State Park, Roberts – 149,650 visits (up 39.9%)
  4. Lake Elmo State Park, Billings – 120,747 visits (up 50.7%)
  5. Spring Meadow Lake State Park, Helena – 79,659 visits (up 29.5%)

State Park Regions – visitation snapshot for January -June 2020:

Below is a list of the most highly visited state parks in each of FWP’s administrative regions:

Region 1 (Kalispell): Flathead Lake State Park (all units) had the highest visitation in the region with an estimated 159,640 visits, an increase of 29.6% over the same time period last year.

Region 2 (Missoula): Frenchtown Pond State Park had the highest visitation in the region with an estimated 30,149 visits, an increase of 12.4% over the same time period last year.

Region 3 (Bozeman): Missouri Headwaters State Park had the highest visitation in the region with an estimated 29,541 visits, an increase of 67.1% over the same time period last year.

Region 4 (Great Falls): Giant Springs State Park had the highest visitation in the region, as well as the state, with an estimated 199,774 visits; an increase of 7.1% over the same time period last year.

Region 5 (Billings): Cooney Reservoir State Park had the highest visitation in the region with an estimated 149,650 visits, an increase of 39.9% over the same time period last year.

Region 7 (Miles City): Makoshika State Park had the highest visitation in the region with an estimated 58,470 visits, an increase of 59.3% over the same time period last year.

Visit Montana State Parks (stateparks.mt.gov) and enjoy camping, hiking, fishing, swimming, boating and more and discover some of the greatest natural and cultural treasures on earth.

Media contact: Pat Doyle, 406-444-3818