Reflecting the increased number of visitors seen at Mount Rainier and Olympic national parks in 2014, the National Park Service set a record for visits last year.
There were 292.8 million visits to national parks in 2014, topping the previous record of slightly more than 287.1 million visits in 1999.
“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,” National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis said in a prepared statement. “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 number of recreational visits to national parks in 2014 was 292,800,082, a 7 percent from 2013 visitation of 273,630,895.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to The Bellingham Herald
Last year’s visitation rebounded from a 2013 decline due in part to the 16-day government shutdown and many park closures for repairs after Superstorm Sandy hit the Northeast in late 2012.
Several parks saw record-breaking visitation in 2014, including Joshua Tree, Rocky Mountain, Grand Teton and Glacier national parks.
Mount Rainier National Park had 1,264,259 recreational visits, the highest annual count since 2003. The record for the park was 1970, when there were 1,925,100 recreational visits.
Olympic National Park had 3,243,872 recreational visits in 2014, the highest since 2002. The park set its annual visitation record of 3,846,709 visits in 1997.