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Glacier National Park reports record attendance in 2016

In this photo taken Sept. 7, 2016, Justin Larson takes a break near the pass above Gunsight Lake in Glacier National Park, Montana. When someone tells you they spotted a 750-pound grizzly bear lurking around the same trail you are strolling on, the typical response is to turn and head in the opposite direction. But backpacking in Glacier National Park, the rules are a bit different. (Lewis Kendall / Associated Press)
In this photo taken Sept. 7, 2016, Justin Larson takes a break near the pass above Gunsight Lake in Glacier National Park, Montana. When someone tells you they spotted a 750-pound grizzly bear lurking around the same trail you are strolling on, the typical response is to turn and head in the opposite direction. But backpacking in Glacier National Park, the rules are a bit different. (Lewis Kendall / Associated Press)
Associated Press

KALISPELL – Officials are looking at how well they handled huge crowds at Glacier National Park after nearly 3 million people visited this year.

The Flathead Beacon reported that’s a record high. And it comes as the park celebrated its 100th birthday.

But officials say the spike in visitors has impacted the park and surrounding communities. Parking lots were constantly full, and rangers say they often had to call tow trucks for those parked illegally. The National Park Service also says it set up portable toilets due to long bathroom lines.

But superintendent Jeff Mow said visitor feedback was almost always positive.

And officials say they will try to maintain the hype surrounding the park as they prepare for what they expect will be another busy year.

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