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NPS arrowhead National Park Service, Department of the Interior Office of Communications 1849 C Street NW Washington DC 20240
202-208-6843 phone, 202-219-0910 fax
National Park Service News Release


For Immediate Release:
February 26, 2008
Contact(s):   David Barna, 202-208-6843

Jeffrey Olson, 202-208-6843


National Park System Attendance Rises In 2007

WASHINGTON – More than 275 million visits were recorded in America’s national park system in 2007, an increase of three million visits from the previous year.

“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.”

Bomar credited growing interest in the National Park Service Centennial as a big reason for the upswing in the number of visits to America’s national parks and monuments, national recreation areas and battlefields, national wild and scenic rivers and national seashores – 20 different park categories in all.

Bomar said, “Although our centennial is not until 2016, the President, late in 2006, charged us with a ‘Centennial Initiative’ – to make the jewels in America’s crown sparkle for another century.

“We started hearing from park lovers immediately after the announcement of the National Parks Centennial Initiative,” Bomar said, “And people said unequivocally that they love their parks. We heard more of the same support for parks across the United States during a series of more than 40 listening sessions that wrapped up a year ago this spring.”

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.

Visits to the entire National Park System
The National Park Service tracks visitation to units of the National Park System – the 391 areas set aside by Congress that include 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.

At 17.35 million, the Blue Ridge Parkway recorded the highest number of visits in the National Park System last year. Golden Gate National Recreation Area was second with 14.4 million visits. Gateway National Recreation Area was third at 8.8 million visits followed by Lake Mead National Recreation Area at 7.6 million visits, and Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area at 4.8 million visits. While the number of visits across the National Park System varies widely, 70 units recorded one million or more visits in 2007.

10 Most Visited Units of the National Park System (2007)

Park Unit

Recreational visits

1. Blue Ridge Parkway

17,352,286

2. Golden Gate National Recreation Area

14,397,313

3. Great Smoky Mountains National Park

9,372,253

4. Gateway National Recreation Area

8,813,204

5. Lake Mead National Recreation Area

7,622,139

6. George Washington Memorial Parkway

6,837,139

7. Natchez Trace Parkway

5,777,666

8. Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area

4,836,229

9. Grand Canyon National Park

4,413,668

10. Cape Cod National Seashore

4,351,609



Visits to the 58 National Parks
The 58 national parks were the most popular park category in 2007 with 62.3 million visits. And 19 national parks recorded one million or more visits in 2007.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park recorded 9.37 million visits in 2007, the highest number of the national parks. Grand Canyon National Park was second with 4.4 million visits while Yosemite National Park was third in visits with 3.5 million. Yellowstone National Park was fourth in visits with 3.15 million. Olympic National Park was fifth in visits with 2.99 million.

Rounding out the top 10 of national park visits are Rocky Mountain National Park, 2.89 million, Zion National Park, 2.66 million, Grand Teton National Park, 2.59 million, Cuyahoga Valley National Park, 2.49 million, and Acadia National Park, 2.2 million.

10 Most Visited National Parks (2007)

Park Unit

Recreational Visits

1. Great Smoky Mountains NP

9,372,253

2. Grand Canyon NP

4,413,668

3. Yosemite NP

3,503,428

4. Yellowstone NP

3,151,343

5. Olympic NP

2,988,686

6. Rocky Mountain NP

2,895,383

7. Zion NP

2,657,281

8. Grand Teton NP

2,588,574

9. Cuyahoga Valley NP

2,486,656

10. Acadia NP

2,202,228



Historic Visitation Trends
National park visitation statistics are viewable on the National Park Service web site. The Public Use Statistics Office web address is http://www.nature.nps.gov/stats . Below is a list of visitation statistics for 1916 to 2007. Since 1916, the National Park System recorded more than 11 BILLION visits.

National Park System, Recreation Visits by Year

1916

358,006

1940

16,755,251

1964

111,385,700

1988

282,451,441

1917

490,705

1941

21,236,947

1965

121,312,000

1989

269,399,837

1918

454,841

1942

9,370,969

1966

133,081,100

1990

255,581,467

1919

811,516

1943

6,828,420

1967

139,675,600

1991

267,840,999

1920

1,058,455

1944

6,339,775

1968

150,835,600

1992

274,694,549

1921

1,171,797

1945

11,713,852

1969

163,990,000

1993

273,120,925

1922

1,216,497

1946

21,752,315

1970

172,004,600

1994

268,636,169

1923

1,493,792

1947

25,534,188

1971

153,693,000

1995

269,564,307

1924

1,607,498

1948

29,858,828

1972

165,653,523

1996

265,796,163

1925

2,054,562

1949

31,736,402

1973

168,923,083

1997

275,236,335

1926

2,314,995

1950

33,252,589

1974

171,054,779

1998

286,739,115

1927

2,797,840

1951

37,106,440

1975

190,390,827

1999

287,130,879

1928

3,024,544

1952

47,379,438

1976

216,554,782

2000

285,891,275

1929

3,248,364

1953

52,268,180

1977

210,569,712

2001

279,873,926

1930

3,246,656

1954

54,210,200

1978

222,184,026

2002

277,299,880

1931

3,544,938

1955

56,572,800

1979

205,369,795

2003

266,099,641

1932

3,754,596

1956

61,602,300

1980

220,463,211

2004

276,908,337

1933

3,481,590

1957

68,016,000

1981

238,592,669

2005

273,488,751

1934

6,337,206

1958

65,460,900

1982

244,924,579

2006

272,623,980

1935

7,676,490

1959

68,900,500

1983

243,619,396

2007

275,581,547

1936

11,989,793

1960

79,229,000

1984

248,785,509

1937

15,133,432

1961

86,663,200

1985

263,441,808

1938

16,331,467

1962

97,044,800

1986

281,094,850

1939

15,530,636

1963

102,710,800

1987

287,244,998


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