WASHINGTON -- Go ahead, blame harsh weather or high gas prices for a marked reduction in visits to Yosemite and other national parks so far this year. The summer droves, though, are returning.
In other words, the time to really beat the crowds may have passed.
At traditionally popular parks from Yosemite and Yellowstone to Mount Rainier and the Great Smoky Mountains, visitation from January through May fell compared with last year, sometimes dramatically. The smaller crowds thrilled park visitors but worried the businesses that depend on them.