Glacier Park saw about 905,000 visitors in July

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People watch the Howe Ridge Fire near Lake McDonald Lodge Sunday afternoon.

Last year Glacier National Park topped 1 million visitors in July. This year, it didnít quite reach that number, but it came close.

Statistics released Monday show the park saw 905,959 visitors in July, a drop of about 10 percent over last year.

For the year, park visitation is 1,731,611, down about 8.6 percent over last yearís number of 1,894,566, which shattered visitation records.

This year, visitation on the east side of the Park was down significantly over last year, when more Canadians visited.

Visitation to St. Mary was down 29.7 percent in July, with 203,392 visitors. The west entrance, by contrast, saw just a slight dip, from 410,235 last year to 401,312 this year, a drop of just 2.2 percent.

Polebridge saw a big dip, from nearly 35,000 last year to about 23,000 this July.

With the Howe Ridge Fire closing the Going-to-the-Sun Road on the west side, the numbers are sure to dip again for August over last year.

Last year the Sprague Fire slowed visitation in August, but that fire was a little bit later in the season, nearly the end of August before it had any great impact on visitation.

Construction on the Bowman Lake Road may have had an impact on visitation there.

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