National Parks and Hurricane Sandy

National Parks and Hurricane Sandy

2012 saw an increase of more than 3 million visitors to U.S. national parks over the number seen in 2011. The 2012 number came in a 282 million visitors which is the sixth highest in the history of the National Park Service. The number could have been even higher had it not been for the closures seen due to Hurricane Sandy.

Visitors come to the national parks for a number of reasons. Some come for the recreation, others are learning about American history during their visits. Walking through an historical battlefield or hearing a park ranger talk on any number of topics are just some of the activities visitors get to experience each year. Many also come for the camping, hiking, canoeing and other activities geared towards enjoying the outdoor scene.

Hurricane Sandy presented unique challenges to the park system as it hit 70 national park sites from North Carolina to Maine. The damage varied depending on the park. Some were closed only briefly, while others like the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island in New York are still closed for repairs. Currently, the Statue of Liberty is slated to reopen on the Fourth of July. Some of the delay in reopening the parks is the attention being paid to rebuilding the sites to be able to withstand future storms.

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