Our National Park system preserves 84 million acres of forest, mountains, streams, prairies and coastline for generations today and ahead. The National Parks are playgrounds that could never be replicated by man, offering peaceful retreats and exhilarating adventures to everyone who passes through their gates. 2016 is a crucial year for the National Parks and an even bigger year for the National Park Service. Here is why 2016 matters and what is happening in your Colorado National Parks.

The National Parks Service turns 100

Photo courtesy of nps.gov

Photo courtesy of nps.gov

On August 25, 2016 the National Parks Service celebrates their 100th birthday and they are waiting on you to join them in the party. 2016 is the year to thank the countless park rangers who have served Colorado and the National Park Service to help preserve these sanctuaries. Colorado is home to four National Parks, each park offering unparalleled beauty and splendor.  Colorado also hosts 13 National Parks service units each dedicated to preserving the history and the land for everyone to enjoy. Find your park and join in the celebration with a wide variety of events from guest speakers to a sunrise tours. 

Rocky Mountain National Park goes for the #2 Spot

Photo courtesy of nps.gov

Photo courtesy of nps.gov

Colorado’s own Rocky Mountain National Park ranked number three of the most visited U.S. National Parks in 2015.  Bringing in over 4 million people last year alone and setting the record for attendance at the park.  This year the Rocky Mountain National Park aims to beat their record while also knocking out the Grand Canyon National Park from the coveted #2 seat on the popularity meter.

Through an increase in centennial events and the high influx of the local population, Rocky Mountain National Park is set up to drive attendance numbers skyward in 2016. High attendance, may be sour words to some, but they are music to the economy.  Colorado National Parks’ revenue from high attendance is a major contributor to our local economy, generating over $450 million dollars in 2015 in economic benefit from Colorado National Park tourism.

Young Visitors are Needed

Over 7 million people flock to Colorado’s National Parks each year. However, the majority of the clientele is aging quickly and the Colorado National Parks are ready for some young blood to come explore the outdoors.  The U.S. Interior Department, which oversees the park service, reported on Friday that national park sites and other non-park sites under its authority welcomed an estimated 443 million visitors in 2015 across the U.S., a 20 million-visit increase from the year before.

Photo courtesy of buzzfeed.com/davidkingham

Photo courtesy of buzzfeed.com/davidkingham

With new additions to technology and outreach programs such as the 4th grade pass; which is a new program that gives free National Park access to every fourth grader in America, the National Parks are aiming to spark a love of the outdoors at a young age.  So go ahead and gram it up the next time you explore the parks.  The National Parks are making it easier than ever to introduce your family and friends to the playground in our backyard.

Go Outside, Now

Get unlimited access to every National Park with the America the Beautiful pass for only $80. Be sure to hit the Colorado highlight, the beloved Rocky Mountain National Park located outside of Estes Park, Colorado and help get the number two rank for most visited National Park.

Photo courtesy of nature.nps.gov

Photo courtesy of nature.nps.gov

 

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