National parks see increase in visitors in 2012

Visitors enjoy a kayak trip in Apostle Islands National Lakeshore near Bayfield. Use of national parks was up in 2012. (News Tribune file)

Visitor use is up at America’s national parks, according to the National Park Service. More than 282 million people visited America’s national parks in 2012, an increase of more than 3 million over 2011. That marked the sixth highest annual visitation in the history of the National Park Service, despite nearly 2 million fewer visitors as a result of park closures caused by Hurricane Sandy, according to a National Park Service news release.

Here’s a list of the most visited national parks in 2012:

1. Great Smoky Mountains National Park — 9,685,829

2. Grand Canyon National Park —4,421,352

3. Yosemite National Park —3,853,404

4. Yellowstone National Park — 3,447,729

5. Rocky Mountain National Park — 3,229,617

6. Zion National Park — 2,973,607

7. Olympic National Park — 2,824,908

8. Grand Teton National Park — 2,705,256

9. Acadia National Park — 2,431,052

10. Cuyahoga Valley National Park — 2,299,722

 

And here’s a list of the most visited places within the park system in 2012:

 

1. Blue Ridge Parkway — 15,205,059

2. Golden Gate National Recreation Area — 14,540,338

3. Great Smoky Mountains National Park — 9,685,829

4. George Washington Memorial Parkway — 7,425,577

5. Lake Mead National Recreation Area — 6,285,439

6. Lincoln Memorial — 6,191,361

7. Natchez Trace Parkway — 5,560,668

8. Gateway National Recreation Area — 5,043,863

9. Gulf Islands National Seashore — 4,973,462

10. Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area — 4,970,802

 

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