state parks were crowded in 2021, when locals and tourists alike left their homes to lie under the stars, in evergreen forests, and next to the soothing roar of the ocean.
According to a report, theDepartment recorded 3,026,756 camper nights last year, outnumbering the pandemic-impaired numbers from 2020, and exceeding the 3 million mark for the first time, the department announced.
In state park lingo, a camper night is one camper spending one night at a. A family of four who spends two nights sleeping in , for instance, would be equivalent to eight camper nights.
And since nearly everysaw a drop in the number of visitors during statewide park closures in 2020, it’s better to compare the numbers to those in 2019, when state park were amid a massive surge in popularity.
The bulk of the growth for 2021 came on thecoast, which saw an increase of 9% in camper nights over 2019, the only region in the state with an overall increase last year.
More than a third of this increase came from the massivein Fort Stevens State Park outside Astoria, which alone had 343,585 camper nights last year, far more than any other.
Parks Department Spokesperson Chris Havel said the data indicate a continuing trend of midweek camping in the summer months, in addition to weekend andcamping during the winter, fall, and spring. The data also showed the significant increase in the number of state parks camping that began in 2012, which park officials consider a win.
“Hooray for people continuing to realize enjoying the outdoors is good for body and mind, and good for both the individual and the community,” Havel said.
“As people continue to look for places to experience in our centennial year, we hope they branch out to look for places new to you and take the time to prepare well,” Havel added.
Department will celebrate the 100th anniversary of its establishment in 2022. Commemoration of the anniversary with special events may bring more people to parks throughout the state.