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Visitation Drops 3% at National Parks

Published on March 14, 2014 at 10:55AM

The number of visitors to National Parks dropped about 3 percent in 2013. The Salt Lake Tribune reports 273.6 million people visited the nations 401 national parks, historic sites, monuments and recreation areas in 2013. According the Tribune, all the parks in Utah also saw a decline with the exception of Arches National Park, which saw a visitation increase of about 12,000 from 2012 to 2013. Bryce Canyon recorded 1,311,875 visitors in 2013, a drop from the 1,385,352 in 2012. Capitol Reef National Park saw a decrease of nearly 10 thousand visitors in 2013 from the previous year, recording a total of 663,670.

Park officials said the decrease was due in large part to the lapse in federal appropriations, which closed national parks for the first 16 days in October. The National Parks Service recently released a new report showing that Utah’s investment of nearly $1 million to open its nine national parks units early during the government shutdown resulted in a $10 return for every $1 spent.