The number of recreational visit to the national park system in 2007 rose by 3 million to 275 million. That’s according to a report released today by the National Park Service.
"Despite rising gas prices and the lure of electronic entertainment, this is great news," said National Park Service director Mary A. Bomar. "With all the recreation choices available, national parks still draw more visits than Major League Baseball, the National Football League, professional basketball, soccer and NASCAR combined."
After a record 287 million visits in 1999, and a one-year bump attributed to the 2004 opening of the World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C., the number of visits has been in decline.
"Hopefully the 2007 figures are a permanent rebound from 2006 when had 272.6 million visits," Bomar said.
The service tracks visitation to the 391 units of the National Park System, including more than 100 national historical parks and historic sites, 74 national monuments, 58 national parks, 28 national memorials, two dozen national battlefields and military parks, as well as national seashores, parkways, recreation areas and national preserves.
Locally, visitation at Mount Rainier National Park was down in 2007 to 1,047,685. That’s easy to explain since the park was essentially closed the first four months of the year as work was done to repair flood damage.
Last year, there were 1,113,601 visit to Mount Rainier, but the park was closed for much of December.
In 2005, the last year the park was open every month, visits totaled 1,173,897.