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.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 52037

Reported Deaths: 2762
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion12111693
Lake5677249
Elkhart366260
Allen2971134
St. Joseph221169
Hamilton1735101
Cass16489
Hendricks1470100
Johnson1351118
Porter84938
Vanderburgh8016
Tippecanoe7859
Clark71944
Madison68164
LaPorte62928
Howard61058
Bartholomew60545
Kosciusko5844
Marshall57011
Noble52428
Boone49244
LaGrange48710
Delaware48152
Jackson4793
Hancock47436
Shelby46025
Floyd41844
Monroe36128
Morgan34431
Grant32226
Dubois3196
Henry30318
Montgomery29720
Clinton2903
White27810
Dearborn27123
Warrick26829
Vigo2618
Decatur25732
Lawrence25325
Harrison21822
Greene19932
Miami1942
Jennings17912
Putnam1748
DeKalb1694
Scott1659
Wayne1596
Daviess15117
Perry15110
Steuben1402
Orange13823
Jasper1362
Ripley1357
Franklin1288
Gibson1282
Wabash1193
Carroll1142
Starke1093
Fayette1087
Whitley1086
Newton10110
Huntington942
Jefferson872
Wells831
Randolph804
Fulton761
Jay720
Knox710
Washington681
Pulaski661
Clay645
Posey640
Rush623
Spencer591
Owen531
Benton510
Sullivan511
Adams491
Brown441
Blackford402
Fountain362
Crawford330
Tipton331
Switzerland320
Parke280
Martin260
Ohio230
Vermillion200
Warren151
Union140
Pike120
Unassigned0193

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 66853

Reported Deaths: 3064
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Franklin12301449
Cuyahoga9359399
Hamilton7046208
Lucas3079306
Marion275539
Montgomery257936
Summit2382209
Pickaway222942
Mahoning1971239
Butler189747
Columbiana139560
Stark1244116
Lorain118970
Trumbull106678
Warren101826
Clark82010
Delaware76315
Fairfield71917
Lake62723
Tuscarawas62110
Licking60012
Medina59932
Belmont57324
Clermont5157
Miami51431
Wood51051
Portage50960
Ashtabula45244
Geauga43143
Richland3906
Allen38541
Wayne37655
Greene3659
Mercer30410
Erie30122
Holmes2625
Darke26126
Huron2602
Madison2259
Ottawa21724
Athens1921
Sandusky17615
Ross1503
Washington14720
Putnam14515
Coshocton1434
Crawford1405
Jefferson1272
Morrow1271
Hardin12512
Union1151
Auglaize1124
Muskingum1061
Preble961
Lawrence920
Clinton912
Monroe8917
Hancock871
Hocking839
Guernsey824
Scioto770
Shelby774
Williams772
Carroll713
Logan711
Ashland692
Fulton680
Wyandot665
Brown621
Fayette580
Highland581
Champaign571
Knox571
Defiance553
Van Wert491
Perry481
Seneca442
Henry370
Paulding340
Jackson310
Pike290
Adams282
Vinton232
Gallia211
Noble140
Harrison131
Meigs130
Morgan120
Unassigned00
Fort Wayne
Clear
59° wxIcon
Hi: 86° Lo: 63°
Feels Like: 59°
Angola
Overcast
57° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 63°
Feels Like: 57°
Huntington
Clear
58° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 63°
Feels Like: 58°
Decatur
Clear
57° wxIcon
Hi: 86° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 57°
Van Wert
Clear
57° wxIcon
Hi: 86° Lo: 63°
Feels Like: 57°
Warmer Tuesday
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events