Healthy boost in number of visitors to state parks
The total number of visitors to state parks in the United States rose from 730.2 million in 2006-2007 to 747.9 million in 2007-2008. That’s a 2.4 percent increase.
Visitor counts are from the latest two editions of the “Annual Information Exchange,” which is produced by the National Association of State Park Directors (NASPD), in cooperation with North Carolina State University. Both day and overnight visits in fee and non-fee areas are tabulated in the NASPD reports.
Visitor counts grew even as the number of state park and recreation areas dropped a little in recent years. For 2007-2008, the number of park and recreation areas reached 6,547, which is 77 less than were reported in 2006-2007.
The NASPD defines park and recreation areas to include parks, recreation areas, and natural areas; historic sites; environmental education areas; scientific areas; forests, fish and wildlife preserves; and natural and miscellaneous areas.
Operating expenses on the rise
In recent years, state parks have seen their operating expenses rise. Total operating expenses in 2007-2008 reached $2.33 billion, an increase of about $65 million over the $2.26 billion in operating expenditures for 2006-2007.
The “Annual Information Exchange” offers state-by-state data for a variety of other topics, including capital expenditures, parks’ share of state expenditures, user fees, revenue sources and personnel.
For more information on the NASPD, visit