2007 Visitation Across National Park System Projected To Rise

Tours through the Hoh Rain Forest in Olympic National Park were popular in 2007. Kurt Repanshek photo

Two years ago there were concerns that national parks were losing their pull over the traveling public. Today, though, National Park Service officials are bullish about visitation, pointing to gains at a number of parks, including Yosemite and Yellowstone.

In fact, Yellowstone was so popular in 2007 that it set an attendance record, with 3,151,342 visitors, an increase of nearly 10 percent over 2006 levels and nearly 7,000 visitors above the previous record of 3,144,405 counted in 1992.

The greatest percentage increase in visitation was recorded at Yellowstone's East Entrance, with April to November numbers up nearly 21.4 percent. While the park tracks visitation figures, it doesn’t conduct surveys that would explain changes in visitation. The bulk of the park’s visitation occurs May through September. Total recreational visits to the park during that time were 2,871,358. That’s an average of 15,690 visitors a day. The average visitation per day in July was 26,542.

Across the national park system officials are predicting that total 2007 visitation will approach 275 million, compared to 272.6 million in 2006. The agency's Intermountain Region -- home to Yellowstone, Glacier, Grand Teton and Rocky Mountain national parks -- had the largest year-to-date increase in visitors in 2007, up 4 percent over 2006 levels.

Among individual units, Golden Gate National Recreation Area saw a visitation increase of 476,000, the Lincoln Memorial was up 385,000, St. Croix National Scenic Riverway was up 308,000, Yellowstone 277,000, the National World War II Memorial was up 264,000, and Yosemite was up 234,000.

Not everything was rosy across the park system, though. The Blue Ridge Parkway saw a 1.54 million drop in visitation, the largest in the system; the National Mall and Memorial Parks were off 1.3 million; Lake Mead National Recreation Area was down 262,000; the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historic Park saw a dip of 147,000 visitors, and; Mount Rainier National Park was down 135,000. Rainier, of course, had limited access early in 2007 as the result of November 2006 storms.

You can search specific park totals at this site.

Comments

"In fact, Yellowstone was so popular in 2007 that it set an attendance record, with 3,151,342 visitors, an increase of nearly 10 percent over 2006 levels and nearly 40,000 visitors above the previous record of 3,144,405 counted in 1992."

Not to nitpick, but isn't that a difference of less than 7,000?

Still, its great that so many folks are having the opportunity to visit Yellowstone.

I won't ask the question of how much is too much, though.

Good catch, anon. Not sure what I was thinking.

Kurt

The 7,000 difference is only over 1992, the highest level to date. In recent years, unlike most of the park's history, visitation actually leveled off and even declined somewhat (after progressing upward for a long time.)

Over last year, the rise in visitation was significant. In fact, it was 9.8%.

Here are the last three years.

2006 - 2,870,293
2005 - 2,835,649
2004 - 2,868,316

Local tourist officials in gateway towns are speculating the increase is due to a large increase in international visitors that has resulted from the weak dollar.

Jim Macdonald
The Magic of Yellowstone
Yellowstone Newspaper
Jim's Eclectic World