Through the first nine months of the year, visits to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park are 6.2% below the numbers for the same time last year. Through September the park has seen 6,797,955 visits.
For the month of September, however, visitation was up by 4.4%.
Interestingly, the number of people camping in front country campsites in the park is down 6.8% for the year. However, the number of backcountry campers has increased by 16.9%! No wonder the park wants to charge fees for camping in the backcountry! Or, are people trying to get in as many "bag" nights as possible before the fees kick-in?
In other parks:
* So far this year the Blue Ridge Parkway has seen 12,938,118 visits. That represents a 7.7% increase over 2010 figures for the same time period. However, for the month of September, visitation was down 10.2%.
* Visitation to Shenandoah National Park was down a whopping 25.1% in September, while dragging it into negative territory for the year (-1.1%).
* Finally, at the Big South Fork NRA, visitation was down 3.8% for the month of September, and is down 9.2% for the YTD.