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Find Your Park is the message being sent to the world by the National Park Service in anticipation of its 100th Anniversary in 2016. In 2015, a record 1,535,633 people found their park at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore (National Lakeshore). This just exceeded the 1,531,560 park visitors received in 2012 following ABC’s Good Morning America declaring the park the “Most Beautiful Place in America.”
“The staff here is proud of the work they do to preserve this special place and make coming here a wonderful experience for all visitors.” said Acting Superintendent, Tom Ulrich. “While we don’t set out to increase visitation every year, this record reflects that hard work.” Ulrich noted the new record comes in spite of the severe August 2nd windstorm that closed areas of the park during peak season. “I’ll bet we lost 50-100,000 visits due to storm closures.” said Ulrich. “Even so, great weather, low gas prices, and a lot of media attention on the National Park Service Centennial and the many offerings in the region combined to entice people here.”
Two other National Park Service sites in Michigan, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore and River Raisin National Battlefield Park also broke records in 2015, as did many other parks across the country, such as Yellowstone and Rocky Mountain National Parks. Alth0ugh figures are not final, it appears the National Park Service will exceed 300,000,000 visitors for the first time in 2015. The National Lakeshore anticipates that strong visitation will continue in 2016 as it celebrates the National Park Service Centennial with special events and programs designed for returning and new visitors.