Saguaro National Park sees increase in visitors

Published: Apr. 23, 2016 at 10:06 PM MST|Updated: Apr. 25, 2016 at 2:19 PM MST
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TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - An increased number of people are visiting national parks across the county, and Saguaro National Park is no exception.

The National Park Service said 753,400 people visited Saguaro National Park in 2015 - an 11 percent increase from 2014.

"It does feel like it's been busier. The statistics show nationwide we're up to 411, every single park is seeing that increase," said Andy Fisher, spokeswoman for the National Park Service.

Nationally, more than 302 million people visited parks across the country, about a 5 percent increase.Some visitors at Saguaro National Park on Saturday, April 23, said they visit parks across the country as often as they can.

"I have been to Capulin Volcano National Park in New Mexico and Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado. I've become junior rangers at all of them too," said Avery Purcell, a visitor at Saguaro National Park.

"We have gone through five parks on the way from Indiana. And we have a national park pass so we're old timers. And we want to see as many as we can," visitor Rick Goss said.

The increase in visitors means money pumped back into to the local economies, due to spending on lodging, food, park admissions and other expenses.

"We estimate that that equates to about $47.5 million worth of direct spending back into the Tucson community," Fisher said.

That spending also supported 691 jobs in the Tucson area, according to the National Park Service.

Fisher said the number of visitors at national parks is expected to be higher this year because the park service is celebrating its centennial year.

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