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Tourist Numbers Down At Glacier

The number of visitors to Glacier National Park dropped 6 percent last year, with a half-million fewer people than in record year 1992.

“The Western parks in general all saw drops in visitation in 1996,” said park spokeswoman Amy Vanderbilt. She blamed a host of factors for the decline, including a huge snowpack, road repairs, the Olympics, high gas prices and the competing lure of amusement parks.

A total of 1,720,805 people passed through park entrance gates in 1996. That was the lowest count since 1987, when 1.66 million visitors entered the park.

Park visitation has declined steadily since the 1992 record mark of 2.2 million.

“We have seen a general downward trend in Canadian visitation over the last few years,” Vanderbilt added.

The drop in the number of Canadian visitors mirrors the depreciation of the Canadian dollar against the U.S. dollar.

Despite the drop in visitation, park revenues fell by only $2,000 compared to 1995, said park fee collector Jerry Nelson.

Overnight fees at most campgrounds were raised from $10 to $12. At Kintla and Bowman lake campgrounds, fees were raised from $8 to $10.