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October 2015 visitation is second highest ever

Posted by | 11.13.2015
The parking lot at Newfound Gap in Great Smoky Mountains National Park
- like most areas of the park - was full of both visitors and vehicles during
all of October. - Photo by Gary Wilson

Great Smoky Mountains National Park welcomed 1,370,640 visitors in October 2015, exceeding 2014’s mark of 1,303,640.  This year’s visitation makes 2015 the second highest October visitation in the park’s history.  Only October 1987 saw more visitors.  October is traditionally the second busiest month of the year for the national park, driven by visitors coming to see the park’s fall foliage.

Park rangers saw a noticeable increase in visitation at park visitor centers and contact stations, including a record setting number at the Sugarlands Visitor Center.  Visitors also took advantage of the park’s front country and back country camping opportunities.  Over 50,000 visitors camped in the park’s nine front country campgrounds, and over 11,000 experienced the wonder of the park’s wilderness at one of the park’s many backcountry campsites and shelters.

“While our scenic roadways are always busy in October, I’m pleased to know more visitors also choosing to enjoy the park beyond the windshield,” said Superintendent Cassius Cash.  “The incredibly diverse trail system, campgrounds, and backcountry sites in the Smokies offer an experience unmatched anywhere.”

Over 9.5 million people have visited the park so far this year, a 5% increase, which could make 2015 the busiest year in the park’s 81 year history.  The current annual visitation on record was set in 1999 when 10,283,598 people visited Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

For more information about visitation, please visit the National Park Service Visitor Use Statistics web page HERE.

Tagged: National Park News

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