State Parks reported 22.5 million visitors last year, a nearly 7% increase from the year before and an all-time attendance record for the network of 92 parks and historic sites, recently released data show.
According to a report, visitors flocked toState Parks in record numbers in 2021, continuing a pandemic-fueled return-to-the- trend that officials don’t expect to end anytime soon.
“The biggest complaint we get now is ‘we can’t get into a state park,'” said David Kelly, director of the Division of State Parks.
Another win for park administrators is a 24% increase inrentals and a 17% jump in lodging units rented.
Since State Parks have no entrance fee, visitors represent only estimations. Overnight stays are considered a reliable measure of the popularity of the park system, and both and lodging rentals hit record-setting levels in 2021.
The fact thatwas up 24% this year was astounding,” Kelly said.
“We’re doing things to try to meet customer demands as quickly as we can,” he said.
There are plans to open new parks, create new electric vehicles, improve internet connectivity within the state parks, and improve existing , park offices, and drinking water infrastructures., install charging stations for
A large portion of the improvements will be supported by the federal government, which is pouring cash into states through the , approved by Congress with just Democratic backing and signed by President Joe Biden in March.
Kelly stated that the first four projects include adding aloop at Montauk State Park in Dent County, renovation of the loop at Roaring River State Park located in Barry County, replacement of a 30 years-old lighting system in Onondaga Cave, and building full-service in Johnson’s Shut-Ins State Park in Reynolds County.
Park officials are also planning to open Bryant Creek State Park, in south-central Missouri’s, sometime this summer, Kelly said. The parkland was acquired by the former governor Jay Nixon.