More Park Stats From 2005

Prickly Pear in Bloom at Death Valley National ParkThe National Parks office of public use statistics released their report for 2005 earlier this week. Yesterday I looked at which parks had the most and least visitation. Today I wanted to share some other stats released that I find just as fascinating.
Overall Visitation Down in 2005
There were 273.5 million recreation visits in 2005 across all units of the Park Service, which is 1.3% fewer visits than in 2004. That is a difference of 3.4 million visits. Why the drop? Part of the reason suggested by the statistics office were the massive hurricanes of 2005 in the Gulf region which damaged parks and kept tourists out of the area.

George Washington Memorial Parkway Gets Most Visitation
The George Washington Memorial Parkway had nearly 40 million people travel on its roads in 2005. Of course, not all of those people were visiting Mount Vernon on the Potomac. According to the statistics office, 32,529,465 visits were considered "non-recreation". In other words, they were commuters traveling on the parkway to and from work.

Fewer Overnights in Yellowstone, More in Death Valley
Yellowstone National Park had 34,000 fewer people spend the night in the park in 2005 than in 2004. The drop is explained in-part by the reconstruction of the Old Faithful Inn at the park. Meanwhile, in the screaming hot desert of Death Valley National Park, there was a reported 38,000 MORE tent campers in 2005 than in 2004. Why? The reason is tied to a particularly wet winter in '04-'05 which then led to an amazing wildflower season in the park a year ago. To see the Prickly Pears in bloom makes for a great excuse to go camping, just watch your step crawling out of the tent in the morning.