Lower Falls in Yellowstone National Park. Credit: Neal Herbert , NPS
WASHINGTON D.C. -- A record number of Americans found their park in 2015. The National Park Service released visitation numbers today for all NPS sites, which together protect more than 84 million acres for future generations.
According to the NPS data, “America’s Best Idea” hosted more than 307 million visits last year.
"That kind of takes your breath away for a second," said National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis. "But we're also getting ready to welcome even more people -- the next generation of park visitors, supporters and advocates -- in this, the centennial year of the National Park Service."
This year, the National Park Service turns 100 years old. When it was created in 1916 by President Woodrow Wilson, there were only 12 national parks and 21 monuments.
The National Park Service announcement comes as areas considered “crown-jewels” of the park system have consistently released record-breaking numbers.
The National Park Service forecasts 2016 to be our national parks’ busiest year yet. Spearheaded by the #FindYourPark campaign and President Obama’s Every Kid in a Park program, which allows fourth graders and their families free entrance into National Parks, this year’s visits are expected to shatter records across the board.
Most visited National Park service sites: (Click for hiking trails in and near each location)
1. Blue Ridge Parkway (15.0 Million)
2. Golden Gate National Recreation Area (14.9 million)
3. Great Smoky Mountains National Park (10.7 million)
4. Lincoln Memorial (7.9 million)
5. Lake Mead National Recreation Area (7.30 million)
6. George Washington Memorial Parkway (7.29 million)
7. Gateway National Recreation Area (6.4 million)
8. Natchez Trace Parkway (5.8 million)
9. Vietnam Veterans Memorial (5.6 million)
10. Grand Canyon National Park (5.5 million)
Most visited National Parks:
1. Great Smoky Mountains National Park (10.7 million)
2. Grand Canyon National Park (5.5 million)
3. Rocky Mountain National Park (4.16 million)
4. Yosemite National Park (4.10 million)
5. Yellowstone National Park (4.1 million)
6. Zion National Park (3.6 million)
7. Olympic National Park (3.3 million)
8. Grand Teton National Park (3.1 million)
9. Acadia National Park (2.8 million)
10. Glacier National Park (2.4 million)
Leave us a comment below and tell us your favorite!