Now that the COVID-19 pandemic is almost in our rearview mirrors, people are anxious to get outside and explore the United States. This especially includes the national parks located all around the country. The country is even bracing for a huge surge in tourism when it comes to the number of individuals visiting national parks.

According to CNN, national parks like Yellowstone National Park already had a record amount of visitors during the month of May alone. This park actually welcomed more than 483,100 visitors last month and attendance numbers are expected to be well above average throughout the summer months.

If  Yellowstone National Park has already seen this many visitors, you can only imagine what's in store for the state of South Dakota, and its national parks.

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A recent article CNN explains that last year tourism to the national parks dwindled across the country:

National parks across the country saw a 28% decrease in visitors in 2020 compared to the year before, largely due to temporary closures and other pandemic-restrictions, according to the National Park Service. About 66 out of the 423 parks in the National Park System were fully closed for at least two months, the service said in a news release earlier this year.

The TODAY Show highlights this huge surge in attendance at the national parks.  The biggest problem isn't the people inside the parks.  The issues include being turned away at the gate because there's limited parking and guests who are waiting in their cars for hours in lines that are miles long.

So will tourists visiting South Dakota soon be required to reserve a spot to visit a national park? Well...it's definitely not a bad idea to secure your spot at a national park in the state if you’re planning a visit.

South Dakota Game, Fish, and Parks is also encouraging campers to reserve their camping spots for the summer.  "For summer weekend stays, most campsites and cabins are reserved within a week of reservations opening. Reservations open 90 days before arrival, except at Custer State Park, which accepts reservations one year before arrival," explains South Dakota Game, Fish, and Parks.

Just to be on the safe side, it's best to check with all parks in South Dakota to see if a reservation is required.  You can contact the national parks by visiting here.

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