Visitation to Montana state parks up in 2012

2013-01-11T16:47:00Z 2013-01-11T23:01:35Z Visitation to Montana state parks up in 2012Gazette Staff The Billings Gazette
January 11, 2013 4:47 pm  • 

With more than 2 million visitors, Montana State Parks had its second busiest year on record in 2012, up 7 percent over 2011.

Montana State Parks annual visitation was up 10 percent over the five-year trend and up 25 percent over the past 10 years.

Giant Springs State Park in Great Falls had the highest visitation for the year of all state parks, with nearly 293,000 visitors, followed by Billings' Lake Elmo State Park (215,041 visitors) and Cooney State Park (134,556 visitors) near Boyd.

Billings-area state parks saw the highest combined visitation for 2012 with more than 456,000 visitors, followed by Kalispell-area state parks with more than 442,000 visitors combined.

Seventy-seven percent of parks visitors in 2012 were residents while 23 percent were nonresidents.

Resident visitors to state parks have increased 12 over the past five years, while out-of-state visitors have increased 34 percent over the past five years.

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