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Contact: Lori Rome, 435-425-4110
TORREY, UT – Outdoor experiences provided refuge from the pandemic for 237 million visitors to America’s national parks in 2020. The number represents a 28% decrease from the previous year due largely to temporary park closures and restrictions implemented in response to the coronavirus pandemic.Capitol Reef National Park’s overall visitation dropped 20% in 2020 from 2019, from 1,226,511 to 981,038. “This past year has reminded us how important places like Capitol Reef National Park are to society,” said Superintendent Sue Fritzke. “Visitors were able to find safe places to recreate outdoors during a global pandemic.” While international visitation, which comprises a significant number of annual visitors, dropped, the park welcomed many new visitors from around the region and country as people sought refuge locally.
The coronavirus pandemic has affected nearly every National Park Service operation, and parks continue to work with public health officials to navigate changing conditions. A maximum 66 of the 423 parks of the National Park System were fully closed for two months or more. Capitol Reef National Park closed to recreational access for almost two months in spring of 2020, then reopened incrementally as public health safety measures were put in place. The park is now fully open for responsible recreation, and has seen record visitation in September, November, and December 2020.
To protect the health of those who live in, work in, and visit America’s national parks, face masks are required in all NPS buildings and facilities. Masks are also required outdoors on federally managed lands when physical distancing cannot be maintained, including narrow or busy trails, overlooks, and parking lots. Additional public health measures remain in effect, and visitors should check with individual parks for details on operations before visiting.For an in-depth look at 2020 visitation statistics, national summaries, and individual park figures, please visit the National Park Service Visitor Use Statistics website at https://www.nps.gov/subjects/socialscience/annual-visitation-highlights.htm.
About the National Park Service. More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America's 418 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Visit us at www.nps.gov, on Facebook www.facebook.com/nationalparkservice, Twitter www.twitter.com/natlparkservice, and YouTube www.youtube.com/nationalparkservice.
Last updated: March 3, 2021