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National Park Visitation Rises in 2007

February 27, 2008

National Park Visitation Rises in 2007
Feb. 27, 2008 –Recorded visitation to America’s national parks grew by more than 275 million visitors last year. This is an increase of three million visits from the previous year according to 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."

In a news release 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.

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.

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.

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.

National park visitation statistics are viewable on the National Park Service Web site at http://www.nature.nps.gov/stats.

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