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National Park Service Looking to Attract Millennials

National Park Service Looking to Attract Millennials
January 12
10:56 2016

With visitor crowding in national parks reaching epic proportions, National Park Service Director Jonathan Jarvis says some solutions are obvious.  But he admits not being sure about how to address young people’s seeming disinterest in what many call “America’s Best Idea,” the national park system.

“If the Park Service doesn’t build a new constituency, our long-term future is at risk,” said Jarvis.

To that end, a series of programs and events will be staged to hopefully connect with millennials, Americans aged 18 to 35. A website has been set up, FindYourPark.com, that will list contests and prompt  social media engagement with the NPS.  The Park Service will also have several digital kiosks set up in target communities.

Parks posted record visitation numbers in 2015, and even more people are expected this year due to the National Park Service’s 100th anniversary.  The publicity surrounding the centennial is expected to draw many visitors on its own.

Jarvis says the Park Service will concentrate on encouraging visitation during less-busy times of the year and to less-visited places.

Low gasoline prices and a weak U.S. dollar abroad have both contributed to boosting visitation.

Utah national parks saw 275,000 more visitors in 2015 than the year before.  Visitation to state parks also increased by 20 percent.

Visitor statistics for Arizona parks are still being compiled.

 

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