305 million people can’t be wrong

By | Category: Travel news
geysers in Yellowstone Park ©  Wyoming Travel & Tourism

geysers in Yellowstone Park ©
Wyoming Travel & Tourism

Last year more than 305 million people visited one of the 409 parks in the USA that the National Park Service looks after. Of those, 59 are designated national parks. This year there will be even more visitors as 2016 is the year that the National Park Service celebrates its 100th birthday.

Some of the parks are known worldwide such as Yellowstone which was designated a national park as long ago as 1872. Mathematicians amongst readers will have calculated that this means Yellowstone was declared a national park 44 years before the service came into being. The 1916 National Park Service Organic Act was passed so that the parks could be unified under one administrator rather than individual ones that had existed up until then. In the same act, battlefields and historic places became part of the service meaning that most of the heritage both environmental and historic came under one organisation.

Other parks include Yosemite and Sequoia, Rocky Mountain and Mt Rainier, the Grand Canyon and the Everglades. Two of the most recently designated parks are ones that you might think have been parks for decades, Biscayne in Florida and Death Valley in California and Nevada.

Yosemite Park one of the popular holiday destinations

Yosemite Park one of the popular holiday destinations

In all the National Parks Service looks after 84 million acres of landscape across the USA and its territories in the Pacific and Caribbean.

Much of the increase in visits to national parks has come about through the many films and tv series that have used the parks as backdrops so much so that we recognises some of the parks more than we do our own.. In the last few years, there has been a campaign called “Find Your Park” to encourage Americans to visit their local parks. Increased funding was even provided to help the scheme along. In this anniversary year, money has also been found to improve visitor centres with new trails being laid out and better signage.

Entrance fees to the parks vary from $3-$30 but there are some days f the year suc as on public holidays when the entrance will be free. As it will also be on some days in late August when the anniversary celebrations take place. For a full list of the days when entrance is free, click here.

Readers will notice that a number of British tour operators will be promoting fly-drive holidays that include some of the national parks. Expect to hear a lot more about the parks as the year progresses. This year probably more than 320 million will visit the parks.

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