A few months ago, Yellowstone National Park Superintendent Dan Wenk raised eyebrows when, at a joint meeting of town and county leaders, he said the park does not have 3 million visitors per year, as often touted. Rather, Wenk said, the park attracts more like 1.5 million people, some of whom visit multiple times.
A study released by the Jackson Hole Conservation Alliance this month further calls into question the widely held notion that Teton County hosts 3 million — sometimes stretched to 4 million — visitors per year.
The study gives a snapshot of the county’s “effective population,” or the total number of people found here at a given time. The tally combines permanent residents, second home owners, seasonal workers, commuters and tourists.
At the peak of summer (July 15), that total is more than 60,000. In winter (Feb. 15), the effective population is 40,000, and even in the shoulder seasons (April and November) the tally is 30,000.