By Katia Hetter, CNN
(CNN)The National Park Service recorded a record-breaking 331 million visits during the National Park Service’s centennial year in 2016, a 7.7% increase over 2015, the park service announced Friday, March 10.
“Our National Parks are our national treasures, and it’s important to recognize that they are more than just beautiful landscapes,” said US Department of the Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, who made the announcement during a stop at Glacier National Park.
“Growing up near Glacier National Park, I understand the value these places bring to local economies and in preserving our heritage,” Zinke said. “As we enter into a second century of service and visitation numbers continue to increase, we will focus on maintenance backlogs and ensuring these special places are preserved for future generations.”
It was the park service’s third consecutive all-time attendance record, and 77 national park sites set new records for annual recreation visits. (There are 417 sites in the National Park Service, and 382 of those sites count visits.)