National park visitation continues to rebound
2022 was Grand Canyon’s 8th busiest year on record
WASHINGTON — The National Park Service 2022 Visitation Report released Feb. 27 shows visitation to America’s national parks continued to rebound toward pre-pandemic levels.
It also demonstrates subtle shifts in visitation patterns after two years of efforts to bolster visitation at lesser-known parks and at times of the year when parks historically saw fewer visitors.
National Park Service statisticians looked inside the numbers to see what kinds of parks people visited in 2022. Parks known for recreation opportunities drew 38 percent of visitation, parks that primarily focus on United States history and cultural heritage drew 32 percent of total park visitation, and parks anchored by nature-based experiences drew 30 percent of visitation.
“People continue to seek a variety of national park travel experiences – to learn about American history and culture, get active and enjoy breathtaking scenic views,” National Park Service Director Chuck Sams said. “We’re excited to see our efforts to increase visitation to parks in the off-season and in parks that are less well-known paying off. Many parks with record visitation in 2022 are on what we would call “the road less traveled.” The subtle shift in park visitation is good for visitors, good for protecting parks and good for local communities whose economies benefit from tourism dollars.”
Whether people have a bucket list park trip for 2023 or schedule time to discover the rest of the National Park System, the National Park Service app and insider tips from park rangers through the Plan like a Park Ranger feature are keys to safe, sensational, and successful national park experiences.
Grand Canyon National Park experienced its eighth busiest year ever in 2022 with 4,732,101 visits.
Last year’s visitation was more than 200,000 above the previous year at a 4.5 percent increase. Grand Canyon also went from the fourth most visited national park to the second most visited behind Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
Visitation to Grand Canyon reached its highest level ever with approximately 6.4 million visits in 2018.
Although 2022’s reduced visitation lessens the stress on the park’s resources, park operations still rely on the revenue from all income sources. Fewer visitors translates to reduced revenue for park programs. Federal Lands Recreational Enhancement Funds (aka FLREA), transportation fees and concession franchise fees are still reduced compared to pre-pandemic years. Funds from these sources support many programs across the park and park managers continue to work on programming costs with these smaller revenue projections in mind for this fiscal year.
Information provided by NPS
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