National Park Service - Visitors To The National Parks

Visitors To The National Parks

The National Park System receives over 280,000,000 visits each year throughout the 398 units. Park visitation grew 40 percent between 1980 and 2001. Annually, visitors are surveyed for their satisfaction with services and facilities provided.

The ten most visited units of the National Park System handle thirty percent of the visits to the 398 park units. The top ten percent of parks (39) handle 61.2% of all visits, leaving the remaining 355 units to deal with 38.8% of visits.

Park Rank Visits
Blue Ridge Parkway 1 16,309,307
Golden Gate National Recreation Area 2 14,554,750
Gateway National Recreation Area 3 9,431,021
Great Smoky Mountains National Park 4 9,044,010
Lake Mead National Recreation Area 5 7,601,863
George Washington Memorial Parkway 6 7,009,630
Natchez Trace Parkway 7 5,747,235
Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area 8 5,127,074
Lincoln Memorial 9 4,678,861
Cape Cod National Seashore 10 4,644,235

Overnight stays Over 13.8 million visitors spent a night in one of the National Park Units during 2008. The largest number (3.59 million) stayed in one of the lodges. The second largest group were tent campers (2.96 million) followed by Miscellaneous stays (on boats, group sites—2.06 million). The last three groups of over-night visitors included RV Campers (2.01 million), Back country campers (1.80 million) and users of the Concession run campgrounds (1.22 million). Over the last 30 years the largest change has been with RV users.

Park 2009 Rank 1994 Rank 1979 Rank
RV Campers 1 3 4
Tent Campers 2 1 2
Lodges 3 2 1
Backcountry 4 5 3
Misc 5 4 4
Concession Campers 6 6 6

Services Consistently, the highest ranked service has been Assistance from Park Employees (82% very good, 2007).

Facilities Among facilities, the park Visitor Centers obtain a consistent 70% very good rating (73% in 2007).

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