TUPELO, MS: “In 2016, the Natchez Trace Parkway experienced a 1.8% increase in the number of recreational visits from the 2015 figures,” stated Superintendent Mary Risser. “Three of the 10 most visited parks in the nation are found in the Southeast Region: Blue Ridge Parkway, Great Smokey Mountains National Park, and the Natchez Trace Parkway.”
The Natchez Trace Parkway has numerous recreational activities to match any interest or experience level. Whether camping, motorcycling, hiking, biking, boating, fishing, or horseback riding, there are countless opportunities to experience the history, culture, and natural resources of the area.
Nationally, 330,971,689 recreation visits in 2016 were up by 23.7 million visits (7.7%) over 2015. Recreation visitor hours were up 7% for a total of over 1.4 billion hours spent by visitors in parks. This is a 93 million-hour increase over 2015. For more information about visitation statistics and interesting charts and graphs, go to the National Park Service Social Science web page.
“The centennial and Find Your Park combined with other popular events such as Every Kid in a Park, Wildlife Weekend and BioBlitz, Junior Ranger programs, Acoustic Music presentations, national park anniversaries, and good travel weather helped to drive visitation,” said Risser. “The Find Your Park/Encuentra Tu Parque campaign launched with the National Park Foundation reached new audiences but also highlighted parks that typically don’t receive national attention, such as the Natchez Historical Park in Natchez, Mississippi.”
The Every Kid in a Park program encouraged visitation by offering every fourth grader in America a free 1-year national parks pass for the student and his or her family. Entering its third year, with the start of the fall school term, more than 2 million signed up for the program through its online portal in its first year.
To find out more about upcoming programs on the Natchez Trace Parkway, please visit the NPS website at www.nps.gov/natr.