State parks report record attendance of 837,000 visitors

first_img### Governor Jim Douglas announced that Vermont State Parks reported the busiest operating season in 15 years. As the regular season came to a close on Columbus Day, State Park attendance was up 15 percent over 2009 as 836,984 visitors enjoyed Vermont beaches, mountains, campgrounds and trails.‘As Park staff are cleaning up and turning off the lights for the last time until next spring, they have much to celebrate, as do all Vermonters,’ said Governor Douglas. ‘Vermont State Parks are a fun and affordable get-a-way that more people are now taking advantage of that thanks to foresight, innovative marketing and smart investments at the Department of Forest, Parks and Recreation. Vermont capitalized on a great season, boosting our local economies around the state at the same time.’The numbers break down to 455,319 day use visits ‘ a 23 percent increase over last year ‘ and 381,665 camper visits. Forty-five percent of campers were Vermonters, while 55 percent were from out-of-state.Craig Whipple, Director of State Parks, attributes this year’s success to the great weather, the economy, park infrastructure improvements and effective marketing and outreach. ‘We thank everyone for their tremendous support this year ‘ and remember, parks remain open to everyone in the ‘off season’ for hiking, hunting, skiing and all sorts of winter activities,’ Whipple said.In addition to park visits, 346 people, so far, have completed the Venture Vermont Challenge ‘ 55 percent more than last year. The Venture Vermont Challenge encourages participants to experience fun outdoor activities and photograph their adventures to earn points, with 250 points earning an individual a VIP Gold Pass granting free park entry for all of the 2011 park season. Venture Vermont’s sister program, Outdoor S’more, designed for younger children and child care programs, had 26 group submissions since its launch at the end of June. Approximately 250 children participated, plus many adults did the challenges with those children. In total, over 600 people have completed or helped others complete one of the two challenges.Camping reservations for next summer can be made online at is external) or by calling our reservation call center at 1-888-409-7579. Individuals can also purchase annual passes for next year as well. Passes and gift certificates make wonderful, ‘local’ holiday presents.Source: Governor’s office. 10.25.2010last_img

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