Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe announced that its state parks system continued a six-year trend by setting a new attendance record with 8,997,661 visitors in 2014, 1.4% higher than 2013’s record attendance of 8,871,822.
“The message is clear,” McAuliffe said in a news release. “Virginians look to our state parks for affordable, enjoyable family fun and recreational opportunities. Millions of visitors from across the Commonwealth and across the country appreciate the beauty and serenity of nature found in Virginia State Parks.”
The 36 parks are managed by the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation. According to the governor’s office, Virginia State Parks directly and indirectly had an economic impact of $208 million in 2014, an increase over the previous record of $206 million in 2013.
“State parks help local economies generate more than $12 for every $1 of general fund money allocated to state parks in the state budget,” said McAuliffe. “Tourism is a major economic stimulus in Virginia, and our state parks provide jobs and help spur spending in rural areas of the state.
“My family and I have made a commitment to visit every Virginia state park by the time I leave office and I hope my fellow Virginians will join us in making use of these outstanding natural assets.”
Day-use attendance in 2014 also reached a record level, increasing to 7,910,226 from 7,779,790 in 2013.