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Feature Story

February 2015


National Parks Break Records in 2014

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Visitation at America's national parks broke all-time records in 2014, as the National Park Service prepares to celebrate its centennial in 2016 with a major push to encourage more visitors to experience their national parks in 2016. In 2014, there were 292.8 million visits to national parks. Breaking the previous record set in 1999 when the parks saw just over 287.1 million visits.

"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," said National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis. "As we look ahead to our centennial in 2016, I am looking forward to announcing a new record-breaking number of visitors coming to experience national parks next year and beyond."

The official number of recreational visits to national parks in 2014 was 292,800,082—an increase of 19 million, or 7 percent, from 2013 visitation of 273,630,895. Visitation in 2014 rebounded from a 2013 decline that included a 16-day government shutdown and many park closures for repairs after Superstorm Sandy hit the northeast late in 2012.

"Visitor spending in the communities near national parks supports hundreds of thousands of mostly local jobs in America year after year," Jarvis said. "With this record visitation we should see something on the order of $15 billion in visitor spending, 250,000 or more jobs and a $28 billion effect on the U.S. economy when our annual economics of national parks report comes out in April."

Several national parks saw record-breaking visitation in 2014, including Joshua Tree in California, Rocky Mountain in Colorado, Grand Teton in Wyoming, and Glacier in Montana. The reopening of the Washington Monument some 21 months after it was rocked by an earthquake and repaired, also added to 2014 visitation numbers.

Of the 405 parks in the national park system, 369 of them track visitors, and the top 28 most visited parks accounted for half of 2014 visitation and half of the increase in visits between 2013 and 2014.

The top 10 most visited places in the National Park System include:

  1. Golden Gate National Recreation Area
  2. Blue Ridge Parkway
  3. Great Smoky Mountains National Park
  4. George Washington Memorial Parkway
  5. Lincoln Memorial
  6. Lake Mead National Recreation Area
  7. Gateway National Recreation Area
  8. Natchez Trace Parkway
  9. Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historical Park
  10. Grand Canyon National Park

The top 10 most visited national parks are:

  1. Great Smoky Mountains National Park
  2. Grand Canyon National Park
  3. Yosemite National Park
  4. Yellowstone National Park
  5. Rocky Mountain National Park
  6. Olympic National Park
  7. Zion National Park
  8. Grand Teton National Park
  9. Acadia National Park
  10. Glacier National Park

For more information, visit the National Park Service at www.nps.gov.


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