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Strong start to summer visitation in Yellowstone

Strong start to summer visitation in Yellowstone; melted road fixed

Jul 15, 2014 - The Associated Press

YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK -- A road in Yellowstone National Park has reopened after it was melted by a hot spot in the ground.

Last week, park officials had to close Firehole Lake Drive when the hot ground turned the asphalt into a sticky mess. Warm weather didn't help matters any.

July is the height of tourist season in Yellowstone and the closure of the 3.3-mile loop six miles north of Old Faithful kept visitors away from Great Fountain Geyser, White Dome Geyser and Firehole Lake.

Park officials said Monday road crews removed damaged sections of pavement and used a mix of sand and lime to soak up the oil.

They say there's no sign of increased hydrothermal activity in the area.

Meanwhile, Yellowstone saw its visitation numbers increase more than 7 percent June, compared to a year ago.

In addition, visitation to the first national park exceeded the 1 million mark for the first six months of the 2014.

The National Park Service recorded more than 669,642 recreational visits to Yellowstone in June.

That compares to about 624,400 recreational visits in June 2013.

Driving the increase were bus passengers. June bus passenger numbers were up almost 25 percent at the North entrance, nearly 34 percent at the West Entrance, and up almost 39 percent at the South entrance compared to June 2013.

July is typically the park's peak visitation month, followed in order by August, June, September, and May.

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