Olympic National Park sees rise in visitation during 2016

  • Fri Mar 17th, 2017 10:00pm
  • News

Olympic National Park saw an increase in visitation in 2016, with a total of 3,390,221 visits, according to a park release. This is a 3.87 percent increase from 3,263,761 visits in 2015 and 4.5 percent increase in visits from 2014.

Olympic National Park was the seventh most-visited park in the country during 2016. One of the most notable changes in visitation trends, according to the park release, is the number of backcountry campers with an increase of 13.3 percent from 88,587 in 2015 to 100,347 in 2016.

Campaigns like Find Your Park, an interactive website launched with the National Park Foundation, introduced new audiences to the breadth of the national park system. The National Park Services’ centennial combined with other popular programs, such as the Centennial BioBlitz — a challenge to identify and document as many species of animals and plants in your area, co-sponsored by National Geographic — and “Every Kid in a Park” — where fourth-grade students could get free entry for themselves to more than 2,000 federally owned lands — helped drive the increase in visitation as well.

“I continue to be inspired by the number of people from across the country and around the world that visit Olympic. We are pleased to share the story of this special place and the experience it offers,” said park Superintendent Sarah Creachbaum. “The visitors coming to Olympic play an important role in contributing to the local economy, and we are happy to have the partnership and support of our neighbors.”

The National Park Service also reported record-breaking visitation in 2016. The national parks system received 330,971,689 recreation visits in 2016, up by 23.7 million visits (7.7 percent) over 2015. Of the 382 of the 417 parks in the National Park system that count visitors, 77 of those parks set a new record for annual recreation visits.