Montana State Parks announced yesterday that in 2014, Montana’s 55 state parks experienced 2.255 million visits; setting record high visitation for the second straight year. From January to December 2014, the statewide visitation numbers show a 3% increase over 2013.
Overall, the North Central Region (Great Falls area) saw the highest annual visitation in 2014 with 593,000 visits, and Giant Springs State Park in Great Falls had the highest visitation for the year of all state parks with more than 316,000 visits.
In addition to record visitation numbers, Montana State Parks also experienced increased participation in volunteerism. In 2014, volunteers dedicated almost 43,000 hours to state park operations and programs which is the equivalent of more than 20 full time employees (FTE). Montana State Parks’ volunteers provide much needed support to the Division’s limited paid staff.
“The growth in our visitation and volunteer support is very exciting,” said Chas Van Genderen, Administrator for Montana State Parks. “Since 2002, annual park use has increased by a million visits. This trend has lead to greater demands for staffing and services in our parks. Our volunteers are vital to meeting those demands. We thank the public for their ongoing support, and look forward to continued growth for years to come.”
The Top 5 Parks for Annual Visitation:
1- Giant Springs State Park in Great Falls (316,483 visits)
2- Lake Elmo State Park in Billings (163,265 visits)
3- Cooney State Park in Roberts (160,070 visits)
4- Spring Meadow Lake State Park in Helena (141,727 visits)
5- Wayfarers State Park in Kalispell (133,473 visits)
For more information on 2014 Annual Visitation click here and then click on 'Parks Planning & Reports'.