As the centennial of the U.S. National Park Service approaches, inland sites in California saw record numbers in 2015.
On December 28, Joshua Tree National Park saw its numbers reached the 2-million visitor threshold. As this trend continued across national parks around the country, it was the first time Joshua Tree National Park reached its visitor marker in its 74 years.
Death Valley, the infamous salt flats of North America, and Mojave National Preserve also saw a huge increase in visitors during 2015. Joshua Tree spokesman George Land told The Press Enterprise that he attributes these numbers to summer trips taken by tourists “Europe, Asia, and around the globe that are coming to the park…They’ll come over and spend four or five weeks touring the national parks route.”
This increase in visitors, even during the summer’s scorching months, has increased overall confidence in the national park system in the United States and specifically in California. However, as visitors increase, the problems that many associate with national park inconveniences come to even brighter light, such as finding a reasonable parking spot or being able to timely enter the park.
However, a busy national park is better than a quiet one, and Mojave National Preserve, that normally only averages less than half the visitors that Death Valley brings in, saw “545,791 visits, compared to 508,913 over the same period in 2014.”
As many point to international visitors as the cause of increased park attendance, the National Park Service has also stepped up its advertising campaigns, utilizing social media magnets such as Instagram and Twitter to inspire people to take the perfect picture in the parks.
Attendance is expected to increase into 2016 as every national park will celebrate some form of the centennial of the National Park Service, so plan ahead for the trip to the park you’ve always wanted to visit, like Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado, or stay closer to home with a nearby park in your state.