North Carolina Parks Report Increased Visits

North Carolina Parks Report Increased Visits

On Monday, February 11th, the North Carolina Division of Parks and Recreation announced that visits to the state’s parks and state recreation areas hit record levels in 2012, hitting 14.2 million visits.

The state has 41 parks and state recreation areas. Of those 41 parks, 18 reported increased attendance during the year 2012. The Fort Macon State Park claimed the highest attendance with 1.24 million visits.

The state parks director, Lewis Ledford, feels that the parks offer “affordable family recreation and a meaningful outdoor experience”. In 2008, an economic study showed that travelers typically spend an average of $23.56 per day when enjoying the state parks. The same report placed the economic impact of the state parks at over $400 million per year.

North Carolina parks have shown an amazing 87% increase in visitors over the course of the past 25 years. Part of the 2012 increase is likely due to improvements made in the various parks. For example, the Gorges State Park added a new 7,100 square foot visitor center and saw a 22% increase in visitors. The William B. Umstead State Park improved parking and a trailhead area, resulting in a 33% increase in visitors.

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