WEST ORANGE, NJ – The National Park Service announced this week that Thomas Edison National Historical Park recorded 57,694 visits in 2016, its best visitation year since the Laboratory’s grand re-opening in 2009-10 after the completion of a $15-million rehabilitation, when 63,009 visitors came through the doors.
Superintendent Tom Ross credited the increased visitation to the "Find Your Park" national marketing campaign and centennial programming at the park.
“We owe a great deal of appreciation to our community partners who collaborated in offering a broad array of new and diverse programs which met our goal of increasing and diversifying our visitors to the park,” he said.
This trend occurred across the country, where centennial programs resulted in a significant level of public interest and social-media engagement with the National Park Service (NPS) and National Park Foundation (NPF). The NPS, NPF and partners across the nation reached hundreds of millions of people with the centennial’s Find Your Park message, and engaged the public in the NPS stewardship mission.
Acting National Park Service Director Michael Reynolds said the high number of 331-million visits counted across the National Park System was "stunning."
“We expected more visitors in 2016 as the NPS celebrated its Centennial with special events and activities, but these numbers really show the depth of feeling people have for their national parks, especially considering that increased visitation was recorded not just at the biggest and best known parks but at smaller historical and cultural sites as well,” he said.
Half of national park visitation happened in 26 parks but visitation growth from 2015 to 2016 was greater, by 13 percent to 9 percent, in parks that see more modest annual visitation.
“That shows the breadth of support for parks and, I think the Find Your Park/Encuentra Tu Parque campaign launched with the National Park Foundation reached new audiences but also highlighted what we might call lesser-known parks,” said Reynolds.
For more information about visitation, visit the National Park Service Visitor Use Statistics webpage at https://irma.nps.gov/stats/.