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MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND HERALDS BUSY SUMMER AT STATE PARKS

Memorial Day State Park

Most parks report increased attendance during 2010 holiday
TOPEKA — The Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks (KDWP) reported record-breaking attendance during the Memorial Day weekend with more than 430,000 people visiting 25 state parks. El Dorado State Park reported the highest attendance with a visitor total topping 65,000. Several parks reported the largest Memorial Day crowds in a decade.

“We are pleased to see so many people spending time enjoying Kansas’ great outdoors,” said KDWP Secretary Mike Hayden. “I am especially proud of the KDWP employees. Despite being short-staffed, we pulled together, preparing large areas of property and responding to weekend emergencies.”

According to Parks Division Director Jerry Hover, the spike in attendance is attributed to people staying closer to home, the Children in Nature program that encourages outdoor activities, and excellent reservoir water levels in central and western Kansas. The superior quality of Kansas State Parks is a factor as well. “People like our state parks better than other parks,” Hover said.

Following are some approximate park attendance numbers for Memorial Day weekend:

  • Cedar Bluff State Park — 9,720 visitors in 2010 compared to 8,225 in 2009 and 6,885 in 2008;
  • Cheney State Park — 60,125 visitors in 2010 compared to 54,916 in 2009;
  • Clinton State Park — 55,000 visitors in 2010;
  • Crawford State Park — 11,074 visitors in 2010;
  • Cross Timbers State Park — 9,864 visitors in 2010;
  • Eisenhower State Park — 8,109 in 2010;
  • El Dorado State Park — 65,000 visitors in 2010 compared to 60,000 in 2009;
  • Elk City State Park — 2,200 visitors in 2010;
  • Fall River State Park — 3,623 visitors in 2010;
  • Glen Elder State Park — 15,671 visitors in 2010 compared to 11,537 in 2009 and 9,782 in 2008;
  • Hillsdale State Park — 25,000 visitors in 2010;
  • Kanopolis State Park — 17,000 visitors in 2010, compared to 14,880 in 2009 and 12,000 in 2008;
  • Lovewell State Park — 22,000 visitors in 2010 compared to 20,000 in 2009 and 18,000 in 2008
  • Meade State Park — 2,253 visitors in 2010 compared to 2,000 in 2009 and 2,159 in 2008;
  • Milford State Park — 23,941 visitors in 2010 compared to 14,734 in 2009 and 12,845 in 2008;
  • Perry State Park — 26,664 visitors in 2010;
  • Pomona State Park — 4,064 visitors in 2010 compared to 1,257 in 2009;
  • Prairie Dog State Park — 8,445 visitors compared to 8,700 in 2009 and 7,308 in 2008;
  • Scott State Park — 8,340 visitors in 2010 compared to 8,950 in 2009 and 5,800 in 2008;
  • Tuttle Creek State Park — 31,426 visitors compared to 26,458 for 2009 and 18,569 for 2008;
  • Webster State Park — 10,021 visitors in 2010; and
  • Wilson State Park — 19,000 visitors in 2010.

The 2010 state park season appears to be following the trend documented in 2009 when visitation was 30 percent higher than that of 2008. That’s good news for state parks, which depend largely on entrance and camping permit fees to maintain operating budgets. It’s also good news for the communities located near state parks because state park visitors provide an important economic boost by buying food, fuel, and supplies when they travel.

State parks offer a variety of activities, such as camping, fishing, boating, wildlife watching, and hiking, and many state parks have cabins available for rent. For more information about Kansas state parks, go online to www.kdwp.state.ks.us.
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