The near-final National Park Service figures on park visits during 2010 show both positive and negative results.
Visitation at many of the iconic parks increased over 2009, reported Derrick A. Crandall, president of the American Recreation Coalition. “Yet the system overall, despite fee-free weekends, publicity generated by the rebroadcast of the Ken Burns’ PBS special and the visit to Yosemite by Oprah and a jump in international visitors to the U.S., showed a decline of about 2% in visitations (some 5.8 million fewer visits to a total of about 280 million) and a 2.7% drop in visitor hours,” he said.
The report also showed a 1.5% drop in concessioner lodging use between 2009 and 2010. National Park visitations remain well below levels of the late 1980s, despite a U.S. population increase of over 25%.
On the plus side, RV visits were up about 5% over 2009, and visitation to many of the best-known national parks, most with significant concessioner services, rose in 2010.
Key parks with increases include:
- Yellowstone, 10.5%.
- Yosemite, 4.7%.
- Grand Teton, 4%.
- Grand Canyon, 1%.
- Glen Canyon, 8.4%.
- Acadia, 12.4%.
- Glacier, 9.6%.
Among the most significant declines in units with concessioners were:
- Blue Ridge Parkway, 9%.
- Golden Gate NRA, 7.6%.
- Gateway NRA, 4%.
Meanwhile, RV visits to the nation’s national parks totaled 2,258,903, up 5.06% over the 2,150,170 RVers who visited in 2009..