Visitation records are being shattered at Bryce Canyon National Park.

A study completed by the National Park Service in 1987 predicted 605,000 annual visitors in 1995. But twice that number have visited the park this year, and the year isn't over. Park officials said visitors could nearly triple the 1995 prediction by the end of December.The annual visitation record is expected to be broken before the end of the year, said Park Superintendent Fred J. Fagergren.

Fagergren reported October had the largest monthly increase since the park has been keeping visitation records.

Visitations increased 21.4 percent that month compared to a year ago. Some 91,106 people visited the park during October. The superintendent attributed the increase largely to sunny weather during the first three weeks of the month.

Visits to the park during the first 10 months of this year totaled 1,260,429, shattering the 1990 record of 1,214,000.

Since January, 15 percent more visitors have entered the park than in 1990. Increases have been recorded in all categories, including campground visits. Campground users increased 7 percent in October.

"The park continues to be an increasingly popular destination for foreign visitors, particularly Europeans," Fagergren said. "It is estimated that 25 percent of all park visits are from other countries, and the number continues to increase."

Park officials believe visitations could approach 1.5 million this year after November and December figures are recorded.