A recent National Park Service report for 2018 shows that Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area (SMMNRA) was on track to surpass the number of visits from the previous year but then the Woolsey Fire struck on November 9, 2018. There were 867,154 visits recorded total for the year – a decrease of about 61,409 visits from 2017.
In November 2017, there were 82,662 visits made to the park and 54,983 in December. For 2018, the numbers drastically dropped with a reported 49,997 visits in November and 11,412 in December.
“This comes as no surprise because we were mostly closed during the last two months of last year,” said Superintendent David Szymanski of SMMNRA. “In fact, several of our sites are still closed today even months after the Woolsey Fire and we’ve only recently reopened other popular trails. I have no doubt, however, that it won’t be too long before we are able to restore our park to its former glory days.”
The report shows that visitation to America’s national parks in 2018 exceeded 300 million recreation visits for the fourth consecutive year. The 318.2 million recreation visits total is the third highest since record keeping began in 1904.
The 418 national parks throughout the country provide a vast array of opportunities for recreation and inspiration for visitors of all ages. With at least one located in every state, national parks are easily accessible and affordable destinations. In the past five years there have been about 1.6 billion recreational visits to national parks.
In 2018, Golden Gate National Recreation Area reclaimed the top spot for highest visitation in the National Park System from the Blue Ridge Parkway. These two parks have been trading places at one and two since 1979. In the national parks category, Great Smoky Mountains National Park (11.4 million) and Grand Canyon National Park (6.4 million) continue to hold the top two spots, as they have since 1990.
For an in-depth look at 2018 visitation, including individual park figures, visit the NPS Social Science website (https://www.nps.gov/subjects/socialscience/annual-visitation-highlights.htm).
Submitted by Ana Beatriz Cholo, Senior Writer, Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area