As one of the most challenging years in Montana history comes to a close, we want to call Montanans’ attention to the important role our state parks and fishing access sites have played during the COVID crisis.

As social distancing became necessary and isolation common, Montana’s parks and access sites offered a way for families to “be alone together” in the great outdoors. In the first half of the year alone, four out of five state parks experienced increases in visitation, with huge spikes in February, March and April. In eastern Montana, Makoshika saw a nearly 60 percent increase in January-June visitations. In western Montana, Thompson Chain of Lakes welcomed 40 percent more visitors. And in the heart of Montana, Ackley Lake experienced a stunning 156 percent increase in visitation.

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