Visit Arches and discover a landscape of contrasting colors, landforms and textures unlike any other in the world. The park has over 2,000 natural stone arches, in addition to hundreds of soaring pinnacles, massive fins and giant balanced rocks. This red rock wonderland will amaze you with its formations, refresh you with its trails, and inspire you with its sunsets.
A rugged, whitewater river flowing northward through deep canyons, the New River is among the oldest rivers on the continent. New River Gorge National River in West Virginia encompasses over 70,000 acres of land along the New River, is rich in cultural and natural history, and offers an abundance of scenic and recreational opportunities.
Denali is six million acres of wild land, bisected by one ribbon of road. Travelers along it see the relatively low-elevation taiga forest give way to high alpine tundra and snowy mountains, culminating in North America's tallest peak, 20,310' Denali. Wild animals large and small roam un-fenced lands, living as they have for ages. Solitude, tranquility and wilderness await.
Despite Economic Downturn, Americans and Foreign Visitors Flocked to Our National Parks in 2009
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Ten million more Americans and foreign tourists visited the nation's national parks last year than in 2008, a 3.9 percent increase that marked the fifth busiest year ever for the National Park System, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced today.
“People both here and abroad know that our national parks are America's best idea, even during an economic downturn,” Salazar said. “Our national parks are treasures that tell the story of our country and celebrate its beauty and culture, and they provide vacation bargains for families living on a tight budget. They offer priceless opportunities to inspire adults and children alike with our wonderful natural, cultural and historic heritage.”
“In an increasingly sedentary society, our parks give parents a place to connect their children with nature and learn to appreciate the good feelings that come from healthy green exercise,” he said.
More than 285 million people visited national parks and other units of the National Park System during 2009, up from just under 275 million in 2008. This fell just short of the all-time visitation record of 287.2 million in 1987.
Possible reasons for the increase in visitation include three weekends last summer when the Park Service waived entrance fees, the visits by President Obama and his family to Yellowstone and the Grand Canyon, the publicity generated by Ken Burns' documentary on the history of the national parks, a decline in gasoline prices, and the continued strong exchange rate the Euro enjoys against the dollar.
Salazar highlighted the benefits national parks provide to our economy. A study released today revealed that the National Park System supports more than 223,000 jobs and nearly $14 billion in economic activity across the country.
Great Smoky Mountain National Park continued its reign as the most-visited national park in 2009, attracting 9.4 million visitors, while the Blue Ridge Parkway was the most visited unit of the system with nearly 16 million visitors.
The top 10 most visited national parks were:
Great Smoky Mountains National Park, 9,491,437 visitors