Popularity of State Parks Continues to Grow
State parks in Chesapeake states are attracting more and more visitors. A number of parks actually fill up early on many summer days and have to turn people away.
Virginia state parks reported a record level of over ten million visitors in 2016. Pennsylvania state parks topped forty million that same year. In Maryland, state park visitation has increased by forty percent since 2009.
A story in the Washington Post last week reports on the challenges and the needs at Maryland state parks. Last year gates at heavily used parks had to be closed 122 times due to reaching capacity. The good news is that more people are viewing and using parks for outdoor recreation.
The economic value of state and national parks is by no means inconsequential. The total economic impact of Virginia state parks in 2017 was $239.4 million. All national parks throughout the country added $35.8 billion to the economy in 2017, supporting over 300,000 jobs.
The abundant love of parks suggests the need for more of them. Recent substantial increases in Maryland’s Program Open Space could help with that in the future.