Last year the number of national park visits blasted out the water the previous record set in 1987. In that year parks saw 287.2 million; last year that number jumped to 292.8 million.
The number of visits last year also showed a rebound of seven percent (19 million) from 2013, when a 16-day government shutdown and Super Storm Sandy a year earlier contributed to a marked decline in visitors.
When the numbers were made public, National Park Service Director Jonathan Jarvis commented, “As the National Park Service strives to share a more inclusive and well-rounded version of the American story through the places we care for, it is gratifying to see more people than ever coming to their national parks to enjoy nature, learn about history, and spend time with their families.”
I was one of those many visitors to parks last year. Read more about my travels during that time.
Photo © Heather Hansen. An NPS ranger gives a talk to a crowd at Fort Sumter National Monument.