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More than 3.5 million people visit Yellowstone National Park in 2014, just short of record

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YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK, Wyoming — The number of people visiting Yellowstone National Park last year exceeded 3 million for the eighth consecutive year and came close to breaking the all-time visitation record.

More than 3.5 million people visited the first national park, up 10 percent from 2013.

The last time the park recorded fewer than 3 million annual recreational visits was in 2006, with 2.87 million visits.

Last year, nearly 1.44 million people came into Yellowstone through the park's West Entrance in Montana. The West Entrance saw the greatest percentage increase in visitors among the park's five main gates, up more than 14 percent from 2013.

December visitation was up 5.5 percent compared to year-ago levels.

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