Chesterton Tribune



Indiana Dunes National Park in Top 15 in visitation last year

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America’s national parks continue to be popular destinations, with recreational visits in 2019 exceeding 300 million for the fifth consecutive year.

The 327.5 million total is the third highest since record keeping began in 1904.

“The numbers once again affirm that Americans and visitors from around the world love the natural, cultural and historic experience provided by our nation’s national parks,” Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt said.

“The 419 parks in the national park system provide a vast array of opportunities for recreation and inspiration for visitors of all ages,” National Park Service Deputy Director David Vela noted. “With at least one located in every state, national parks offer nearby history, culture, and adventure.”

Highlights from the 2019 visitation report:

--Visitation in 2019 surpassed 2018 by more than 9 million recreation visits, a 2.9 percent increase.

--Recreation visitor hours have remained above 1.4 billion over the past four years.

--In the past five years there have been nearly two billion recreation visits to national parks.

--Thirty-three parks set a new recreation visitation record in 2019.

--Fourteen parks broke a record they set in 2018.

--Two longstanding records were broken in 2019: Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, with 432,818 recreation visits, broke a record set in 1976; and Capulin Volcano National Monument broke a 1968 record with 81,617 recreation visits.

--Golden Gate National Recreation Area remained the most-visited site in the National Park System ahead of the Blue Ridge Parkway.

--The third through seventh most-visited sites in 2019--Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Gateway National Recreation Area, the Lincoln Memorial, Lake Mead National Recreation Area, and the George Washington Memorial Parkway--retained their 2018 order.

--Visitation to the Natchez Trace Parkway finished just ahead of visitation to Grand Canyon National Park for the eighth most-visited site.

--Gulf Islands National Seashore was number 10.

--Great Smoky Mountains National Park (12.5 million) and Grand Canyon National Park (5.97 million) continue to hold the first and second most-visited national parks in the United States.

--Rocky Mountain National Park held on to third place and set a new visitation record at 4.67 million.

--Zion National Park stayed in fourth place with 4.49 million visits in 2019.

--Yosemite National Park recovered from a drop in 2018 visitation attributed to wildland fires and moved past Yellowstone National Park for fifth place.

--The remaining spots in the top 15 were Yellowstone, Acadia National Park, Grand Teton National Park, Olympic National Park, Glacier National Park, Joshua Tree National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park, Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Indiana Dunes National Park, and Gateway Arch National Park.

The Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act (FLREA) allows the NPS to collect and retain revenue and requires that fee revenue be used to enhance the visitor experience. At least 80 percent of the money stays in the park where it is collected, and the other 20 percent is used to benefit parks that do not collect fees.


Posted 2/28/2020




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