Superintendent Cassius Cash says visits to Great Smoky Mountains National Park (GSM) were up 5.5% through September 2015. More than eight million people have visited the Smokies so far this year.
May and September set new records with 1 million visitors each month. In September, the park welcomed 1,081,773 visitors, the most ever since the park began recording monthly numbers in 1979.
The park is well above the ten-year average of 750,000 visitors during May and 900,000 in September. This adds to the loads on the park's two main visitor centers, campgrounds, and backcountry campsites. Overall, overnight camping in the frontcountry is up 8.7% in 2015, while backcountry camping, especially popular with Appalachian Trail hikers is up 11.4%.
"The Smokies continue to be one of the premier destinations in the southeastern United States," said Superintendent Cassius Cash. "This record-setting visitation on our shoulder seasons reminds us that no matter when you come to the Smokies the opportunities for exploration, relaxation, and discovery are endless whether you're on one of our busy scenic roadways or less traveled areas."
This year's records follow GSM's busiest year in 14 years. In 2014, 10,099,275 visitors came to the park, an 8% increase over 2013. October 2014 visitation was the highest in 27 years.
Tags: Appalachian Trail, Hiking, News, Hikers, Recreation, great smoky mountains national park, and great smoky national park visits
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Published Feb 3, 2012.
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