Outdoors

Mount Rainier National Park welcomed more people in last year than in 23 years, stats show

That’s a lovely view of Mount Rainier you have there. It would be a shame if some clouds were to obstruct that view -- for three quarters of the year.
That’s a lovely view of Mount Rainier you have there. It would be a shame if some clouds were to obstruct that view -- for three quarters of the year.

Mount Rainier National Park had more visitors last year than it has in more than two decades, according to statistics recently released by the National Park Service.

The park had 1,518,491 recreation visitors in 2018, which is up from 1,415,867 the year before.

It’s the most since 1,438,227 people saw Mount Rainier in person in 1995.

The record for most visitors was set in 1970 with 1,925,100.

July was by far the most popular month, thanks to summer break and warm temperatures.

Climbers seeking to stand on the summit of the 14,411-foot volcano were slightly less successful last year than in previous years.

About 48 percent made it to the top — 5,135 climbers out of the 10,762 who attempted the summit.

In 2017, Mount Rainier saw 5,499 climbers summit.

Stats also showed that 212,178 visitors stayed in the park overnight in lodges, tents, RVS and the backcountry.

The two other national parks in Washington state both saw dips in annual visitation.

Olympic National Park recorded 3,104,455 visitors in 2018, down nearly 10 percent from the year before.

North Cascades National Park saw 30,085 visitors last year, compared to 30,326 in 2017.

More than 318.2 million people visited America’s 418 national parks last year, making it the third highest since record keeping began in 1904.

“The visitation to our national parks continues to affirm that Americans are in love with their public lands and hold dear the stories of our nation embodied in the natural, cultural and historic landscapes we protect in the National Park System,” National Park Service Deputy Director Dan Smith said.

Golden Gate National Recreation Area claimed the top spot in the National Park System with 15,223,697 visitors.

As for national parks, Great Smoky Mountains stayed on top with 11,421,200 visitors.

Stacia Glenn covers crime and breaking news in Pierce County. She started with The News Tribune in 2010. Before that, she spent six years writing about crime in Southern California for another newspaper.
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