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Months Before Turning 100, National Parks Are More Popular Than Ever

Turning 100 the same year as New York's first Zoning Code? The National Park Service, of course. The momentous occasion is likely to find the parks more popular than ever.
May 26, 2016, 2pm PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Maybe national parks are popular because they're awesome. Example: Zion National Park in Utah.
Jim David

The National Park Service has plenty to celebrate ahead of its centennial in August. According to Andrew Flowers: "Visitation to national parks is up 12 percent since 1996 and grew 18.6 percent in just the past two years (to 75.3 million from 63.5 million)."

Flowers speculates on a number of theories for the system's increasing popularity, including gas prices, weather, and marketing (also known as "a platform to display Twitter and Instagram posts of people enjoying the parks ahead of the centennial."

The article includes several data visualizations, including one ranking the popularity of all the country's national parks and another tracking the parks of several notable parks over time.

Recent articles picked up by Planetizen include a critical discussion of national parks as "America's Best idea," images from the system's 20 most popular parks, and an announcement of free admission on 99th anniversary of the National Park System (the National Park Service will allow free admission to all national parks from August 25 through August 28 to honor its centennial this year).

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Published on Wednesday, May 25, 2016 in FiveThirtyEight
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