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Contact: Jennette Jurado, 432-477-1109
In 2017, Big Bend National Park had its busiest year on record. With 442,641 visitors coming to the park, this surpassed even 2016's visitation, which saw 388,290 people coming to the park during the National Park Service centennial year. This accounts for a 14% increase from the previous year.
Visitation patterns showed a significant increase during the month of March, when a combination of cactus blooms, moderate weather, and spring break filled campgrounds and backcountry sites consistently for the entire month. In addition to this and the typical busy holidays, the park also saw a marked increase during the hot summer months, with the Chisos Mountain Lodge remaining boooked throughout the summer for the first time in its history.
2017 also saw the opening of the Fossil Discovery Exhibit, the largest addition to interpretive exhibits in the park in over 50 years. This building contains fossils that span the over 130 million years of paleontology preserved in the park. In addition, visitors come to explore hundreds of miles of roads and hking trails, to experience incredible scenic vistas, to float the canyons of the Rio Grande, and to view teh darkest night skies in the lower 48 states.
"Seeing an increase in visitation speaks to importance of parks and wild places," says Acting Superintendent Allen Etheridge. "We welcome the opportunity to share this amazing park with visitors, and give them a place to decompress, recreate, and reconnect with nature."