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Bison roam Yellowstone National Park. Photo by Dennis Cox/WorldViews

Bison roam Yellowstone National Park. Photo by Dennis Cox/WorldViews

Cotopaxi, a company that makes backpacks, jackets and other outdoor gear — and donates a percentage of its earnings to worthy causes around the world — has come out with an infographic in celebration of this year’s 100th anniversary of the U.S. National Park Service.

It shows the top five U.S. National Parks in terms of annual visitation, plus five “Hidden Gems” that are far less visited.

The top five visited National Parks, in order, are Tennessee’s Great Smoky Mountains, Arizona’s Grand Canyon, Colorado’s Rocky Mountain, California’s Yosemite, and Yellowstone, which extends over parts of three states: mostly Wyoming, but also Montana and Idaho.

I’ve visited all of the most popular ones at one time or another, but have to admit I’ve never been to any of the Hidden Gens: Washington’s North Cascades, Florida’s Dry Tortugas, South Carolina’s Congaree, Nevada’s Great Basin, and Texas’ Guadalupe Mountains.

These parks and many more — ranging from California’s Redwood, Sequoia, Kings Canyon and Death Valley to Maine’s Acadia, Virginia’s Shenandoah and Florida’s Everglades, as well as a host of others in between — are national treasures that have enriched my life and that of countless others.

Most American baby boomers, I’m sure, have visited some or many of them. Half the states in the U.S. — 25 — harbor at least one national park, and most have national monuments or other entities managed by the park service.

In economic terms, National Park visitation for 2015 generated 295,000 related jobs and $31 billion in economic output, according to the infographic.

But more important,  the parks provide an immeasurable amount of pleasure and educational benefits to the traveling public.

So thanks to Cotopaxi for providing the infographic, and thanks to the National Park Service for their great work over the past century.

updated-coto-park-numbers

 

2 Responses to The Most Visited U.S. National Parks

  • Thanks for the great and informative article Clark. You brought out the point that our National Parks, this year is the centennial, are both spectacular and educational. I’ve been to Great Basin, one of the unheralded parks and it’s definitely worthwhile checking out!

  • I’ll put Great Basin on my list, Mitch. Glad you enjoyed the post — I know you’re someone with deep appreciation of our national parks.

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According to government and private surveys:

  • Leading-edge baby boomers (born between 1946 and 1955) and seniors account for four out of every five dollars spent on luxury travel today.
  • Roughly half the consumer spending money in the U.S.--more than $2 trillion--is in the hands of leading-edge baby boomers and seniors.
  • Baby boomers (born 1946-1964) travel more than any other age group.
  • When asked what they would most like to spend their money on, baby boomers answered “travel” more than any other category, including improving their health or finances.

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