VISITORS ARE COMING IN record numbers, the National Park Service announced on Monday. Visits rose nearly 4% this year and June alone showed an increase in over 700,000 visitors compared to June of 2008.
Chalk it up to fee-free weekends, a handful of dates set aside this summer when entrance fees were waived. The economic downturn and lower gas prices compared to last summer have also been factors. Americans are choosing to visit parks—especially easily accessible ones near large metropolitan areas—as a cheap alternative to more pricey summer vacations. And with Ken Burns’ newest documentary, “The National Parks: America’s Best Idea” set to air on September 27, interest in the parks is sure to continue to spike.