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The high number of visitors in 2016 was attributed to publicity related to the centennial of the National Park Service and a rare “super bloom” of wildflowers in Death Valley National Park. Surprisingly, visitation stayed at about the same high level in 2017 without these factors.
By contrast, Death Valley only had 9,970 visitors when it was first established as a national monument in 1933. The park is seeing increased visitation in recent years, as more people are discovering Death Valley. The exponential rise in visitation places a strain on the park’s natural and cultural resources.
At around 3.4 million acres, Death Valley is the largest park in the lower 48 states with elevations that range from 282 feet below sea level at Badwater Basin to over 11,000 feet at Telescope Peak. In the spring, wildflower blooms add splashes of color to the desert landscape. Nights in the park offer unparalleled opportunities for star gazing with some of the darkest skies in the country.
Superintendent Mike Reynolds notes: “Death Valley is amazing! You can spend a lifetime here and not see everything. Over 90 percent of the park is wilderness, offering opportunities for solitude and adventure. The scenery is vast and inspiring. I encourage you to visit for the first time or return again!”
Visitors to Death Valley not only experience a special place, but also contribute to the local economies in the surrounding communities of California and Nevada. If you are interested in learning more about visitor statistics in Death Valley or other national park units, go to: https://irma.nps.gov/Stats/Reports/Park/DEVA.