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National Park Service 2015 visitation

President Theodore Roosevelt was reelected in 1904, the same year rangers started counting national park visitors. That year there were more than 120,000 visits to America’s 11 national parks - Things have changed a lot over the past 112 years - This week, the National Park Service (NPS) certified 2015 national park visitation at more than 307 million.

The National Park Service also released its popular Top 10 list of the most visited national park sites in America. Yosemite was No. 4 on the list with 4.2 million visitors. The No. 1 spot is held by the Great Smokey Mountains National Park with 10.7 million visitors in 2015.

“The popularity of national parks is well known, but last year’s numbers really are extraordinary,” said National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis. “As the National Park Service celebrates its 100th year, we’re preparing to welcome more visitors than ever including a new generation of park supporters and advocates who are discovering their own national park adventures.”

The Feb. 18 figures were an increase from the unofficial visitation total of 305 million reported by the NPS in January. The difference is attributed to the recently-completed NPS visitation audit.

Visitors to national parks

*  Great Smoky Mountains National Park - 10,712,674

*  Grand Canyon National Park - 5,520,736

*  Rocky Mountain National Park - 4,155,916

*  Yosemite National Park - 4,150,217

*  Yellowstone National Park - 4,097,710

*  Zion National Park - 3,648,846

*  Olympic National Park - 3,263,761

*  Grand Teton National Park - 3,149,921

*  Acadia National Park - 2,811,184

*  Glacier National Park - 2,366,056

Notable park milestones in 2015

*  Joshua Tree National Park surpassed 2 million annual recreation visits for the first time.

*  Rocky Mountain National Park surpassed 4 million annual recreation visits for the first time.

*  Yellowstone National Park surpassed 4 million annual recreation visits for the first time.

*  Grand Canyon National Park surpassed 5 million annual recreation visits for the first time.

*  Glacier National Park surpassed 100 million total recreation visits (1910 to 2015).

*  Two parks are reporting visitation for the first time:

*  Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers National Monument

*  Waco Mammoth National Monument

*  Overnight stays in park campgrounds and backcountry were up over 2014.

*  Total overnight stays (sum of all categories) were up 6% over 2014.

Top 10 visitation spots

*  Blue Ridge Parkway - 15,054,603

*  Golden Gate National Recreation Area - 14,888,537

*  Great Smoky Mountains National Park - 10,712,674

*  Lincoln Memorial - 7,941,771

*  Lake Mead National Recreation Area - 7,298,465

*  George Washington Memorial Parkway - 7,286,463

*  Gateway National Recreation Area - 6,392,565

*  Natchez Trace Parkway - 5,785,812

*  Vietnam Veterans Memorial - 5,597,077

*  Grand Canyon National Park - 5,520,736

2015 national park visitation highlights include

*  307.2 million recreation visits, a 4.9% increase over 2014, and the previous record of 292.8 million recreation visits.

*  371 of the 410 parks in the National Park System report visitation.

*  57 of the 371 reporting parks set a new record for annual recreation visits during 2015. Eleven parks had more than 5 million recreation visits in 2015.

NPS

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