SEVERE WX : Flood Warning View Alerts

America's most popular national parks are ...

Nearly 331 million people visited the National Park Service's 417 sites around the ...

Posted: Mar 2, 2018 12:45 AM
Updated: Mar 2, 2018 12:45 AM

Nearly 331 million people visited the National Park Service's 417 sites around the United States in 2017, a slight dip from the 331 million record-breaking visits during its centennial anniversary year in 2016.

Park service officials expected the slight decline after the centennial celebrations during the previous year. In 2016, the park service recorded its third consecutive all-time attendance record, and 77 national park sites set new records for annual recreation visits. (Of the 417 sites in the National Park Service, 385 count visits.)

While attendance numbers remained relatively stable, people actually spent more time in the parks in 2017 -- more than 1.4 billion hours last year, an increase of 19 million hours over 2016.

"Our National Parks are being loved to death," said US Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke in a statement, whose agency oversees the National Park Service.

"As visitor rates continue at a high level, we must prioritize much-needed deferred maintenance including aging facilities, roads and other critical infrastructure. President Trump's proposal to establish a Public Lands Infrastructure Fund is a step in the right direction. This is not a Republican or Democrat issue, this is an American issue, and the President and I remain ready to work with anyone in Congress who is willing to get the job done."

Zinke was referring to the $11.6 billion in deferred maintenance at the nation's 417 National Park Service sites, which include the 59 headliner National Parks as well as national recreation areas, seashores, parkways, memorials, battlefields and more. Increased attendance at the destinations, only 118 of which charge admission, means that many locations can't keep up with repairs.

To make the point, the National Park Service released cost estimates for deferred maintenance at each of the top 10 most popular park sites and national parks.

Top three parks attract more than 40 million visits

The Blue Ridge Parkway (16 million visitors) took back the number one slot from 2016 winner Golden Gate National Recreation Area, which came in second place with nearly 15 million visitors last year.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park (11.4 million) came in third place, followed by Gateway National Recreation Area (9.2 million) and the Lincoln Memorial (nearly 8 million).

The top 10 park sites attracted more than 5 million recreation visits each, including Lake Mead National Recreation Area, George Washington Memorial Parkway, Natchez Trace Parkway, Grand Canyon National Park and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.

Trump's first year in office

President Barack Obama created 34 National Park Service monuments during his eight years in office, including four in his final days. Some of those sites honored the country's civil rights struggle, African-American history, Japanese-American history and the fight for women's rights.

While President Donald Trump hasn't created any new NPS monuments during his first year in office, he did sign legislation to expand park service sites. Among his actions: He signed congressional legislation creating a new national historic park for Martin Luther King Jr., expanding what was a national historic site. He also signed legislation to create an African American Civil Rights Network within the National Park Service.

What's attracted a lot of attention doesn't involve the National Park Service at all. Trump signed two presidential proclamations on December 4 after declaring that he would reduce the size of two Bureau of Land Management monuments in Utah. (Like the National Park Service, the Bureau of Land Management is within the Department of the Interior.)

The two presidential proclamations split Bears Ears into two national monuments and Grand Staircase-Escalante into three separate monuments.

In response, a group of Native American tribes filed a lawsuit against Trump and several administration officials claiming that his decision to shrink the Bears Ears National Monument significantly is "in violation of the United States Constitution and the Antiquities Act of 1906."

Separately, US conservation organizations sued Trump and Zinke for actions regarding the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. (Obama created Bears Ears, and President Bill Clinton created Grand Staircase-Escalante.)

Most popular National Park Service sites (417 total)

1. Blue Ridge Parkway (NC/VA): 16,093,765 visits ($186,619,608 deferred maintenance)

2. Golden Gate National Recreation Area (CA): 14,981,897 visits ($325,814,011 deferred maintenance)

3. Great Smoky Mountains National Park (NC/TN): 11,388,893 visits ($64,049,392 deferred maintenance)

4. Gateway National Recreation Area (NY/NJ): 9,190,610 visits ($788,419,471 deferred maintenance)

5. Lincoln Memorial (DC): 7,956,117 visits ($33,868,238 deferred maintenance)

6. Lake Mead National Recreation Area (AZ/NV): 7,882,339 visits ($205,540,564 deferred maintenance)

7. George Washington Memorial Parkway (DC/MD/VA): 7,562,793 visits ($233,441,316 deferred maintenance)

8. Natchez Trace Parkway (AL/MS/TN): 6,326,062 visits ($10,656,651 deferred maintenance)

9. Grand Canyon National Park (AZ): 6,254,238 visits ($329,437,056 deferred maintenance)

10. Vietnam Veterans Memorial (DC): 5,072,589 visits ($625,250 deferred maintenance)

Most popular National Parks (59 total)

1. Great Smoky Mountains National Park (NC/TN): 11,388,893 visits ($64,049,392 deferred maintenance)

2. Grand Canyon National Park (AZ): 6,254,238 visits ($329,437,056 deferred maintenance)

3. Zion National Park (UT): 4,504,812 visits ($65,291,893 deferred maintenance)

4. Rocky Mountain National Park (CO): 4,437,215 visits ($84,234,245 deferred maintenance)

5. Yosemite National Park (CA): 4,336,890 visits ($582,670,827 deferred maintenance)

6. Yellowstone National Park (ID/MT/WY): 4,116,524 visits ($515,808,008 deferred maintenance)

7. Acadia National Park (ME): 3,509,271 visits ($59,858,099 deferred maintenance)

8. Olympic National Park (WA): 3,401,996 visits ($120,719,515 deferred maintenance)

9. Grand Teton National Park (WY): 3,317,000 visits ($178,630,525 deferred maintenance)

10, Glacier National Park (MT): 3,305,512 visits ($153,838,276 deferred maintenance)

Free for fourth-graders

Every fourth-grader around the country can still get a free one-year national parks pass for the student and his or her family under the "Every Kid in a Park" program, which has attracted more than 350,000 fourth-graders in its first two years of operation.

Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly referred to Bears Ears National Monument and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument as part of the National Park Service, which is part of the Department of the Interior. They are part of the Bureau of Land Management, which is also within the Department of the Interior. This story also has been updated to clarify and add context about President Donald Trump's actions regarding National Park Service and Bureau of Land Management sites.

Lafayette
Clear
47° wxIcon
Hi: 60° Lo: 35°
Feels Like: 44°
Kokomo
Clear
41° wxIcon
Hi: 56° Lo: 34°
Feels Like: 36°
Rensselaer
Clear
36° wxIcon
Hi: 58° Lo: 33°
Feels Like: 31°
Lafayette
Clear
47° wxIcon
Hi: 58° Lo: 33°
Feels Like: 44°
Danville
Clear
43° wxIcon
Hi: 59° Lo: 34°
Feels Like: 37°
Frankfort
Clear
43° wxIcon
Hi: 58° Lo: 33°
Feels Like: 37°
Frankfort
Partly Cloudy
43° wxIcon
Hi: 57° Lo: 33°
Feels Like: 37°
Monticello
Clear
40° wxIcon
Hi: 59° Lo: 34°
Feels Like: 36°
Monticello
Clear
40° wxIcon
Hi: 60° Lo: 33°
Feels Like: 36°
Logansport
Clear
37° wxIcon
Hi: 58° Lo: 33°
Feels Like: 37°
Warmer, wetter, stormy pattern ahead.
WLFI Radar
WLFI Temps
WLFI Planner

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 662750

Reported Deaths: 12623
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion907691647
Lake48461880
Allen35897638
Hamilton32121398
St. Joseph30032513
Elkhart25403417
Vanderburgh21261379
Tippecanoe20050203
Johnson16362360
Porter15987270
Hendricks15835300
Clark11976181
Madison11756319
Vigo11625230
Monroe10343163
Delaware9842179
LaPorte9778197
Howard9059198
Kosciusko8567111
Bartholomew7464147
Warrick7422151
Hancock7409132
Floyd7217170
Wayne6640192
Grant6432157
Boone610088
Morgan6096125
Dubois5916111
Dearborn548368
Cass545099
Marshall5427104
Henry542593
Noble509778
Jackson465067
Shelby460790
Lawrence4186113
Gibson401381
Harrison400464
Clinton396153
Montgomery387283
DeKalb385878
Miami357563
Knox357485
Whitley349537
Huntington345777
Steuben338855
Wabash331876
Putnam330559
Ripley327162
Adams323549
Jasper316643
White297352
Jefferson295074
Daviess285496
Fayette271956
Decatur270988
Greene261580
Posey261231
Wells258375
Scott250850
Clay241644
LaGrange240970
Randolph225476
Spencer218030
Jennings215344
Washington211627
Sullivan203339
Fountain201642
Starke188251
Owen182353
Fulton179037
Jay177928
Carroll176518
Perry173235
Orange171250
Rush165122
Vermillion160842
Franklin159435
Tipton146741
Parke139316
Pike127832
Blackford120627
Pulaski106644
Newton96532
Brown95139
Benton92213
Crawford90713
Martin80114
Warren75814
Switzerland7548
Union67210
Ohio53711
Unassigned0431

COVID-19 Important links and resources

As the spread of COVID-19, or as it's more commonly known as the coronavirus continues, this page will serve as your one-stop for the resources you need to stay informed and to keep you and your family safe. CLICK HERE

Closings related to the prevention of the COVID-19 can be found on our Closings page.

Community Events