The numbers for Total Recreation visits through August, 2015 are in, and they come as quite a shock. Despite the long summer and the incredible weather, visitation for Olympic National Park has dropped in August, a usually peak month for tourism. Some say it dropped because of the wildfires and burn bans ruining camping trips. Others think that numbers are low because summer started in the Pacific Northwest in April, or maybe coincided with back to school apprehension and the start of Seahawks football. The numbers are likely also down because of a wind storm that closed sections of the park during the last weekend of August. For whatever reason, less people visited Olympic National Park in August of 2015 than in August of 2014. With other National Parks seeing an increase in tourism and having record years, it appears Olympic National Park is in danger of losing its place as one of America’s most-visted National Parks.
In the month of August, 702,159 visitors entered the park, down sharply from August 2014’s 860,611. That is a drop of 18.4% for the month of August. Visitation for the year is still going strong, but barely. Through the 8th month of the year, Olympic is just .02% more busy than it was in 2014. So far in 2015, Olympic National Park has seen 2,558,400 visitors
Lodging in Olympic National Park is down 12% for the year and dropped 16 percent when comparing August 2015 to August 2014. Since January 1st, 60,208 visitors have stayed at the lodges of Olympic National Park, with 14,660 coming in August of 2015.
Camping is up 73% for the year for concessioner campsites, while tent sites operated by the park were used 26% less than in August of 2014. Overall, camping numbers appear to be down 12.5% for 2015. Combining both concessioner campsites and NPS campgrounds, 50,127 campers used sites in Olympic during the month of August, bringing the year total to 160,312.
It isn’t all bad news though. Backcountry access is up 10% from the same month in 2014, and is up 15.1% for the year. In August of 2015, 23,514 backcountry permits were issued, bringing the year total to 66,433.
Lake Crescent is one of the most visited regions in Olympic National Park, but in 2015, it seems to be losing popularity. So far in 2015, it has seen 310,478 visitors, dropping 7.9% compared with the first eight months of 2014. The month of August was down 21.6% compared with August 2014, seeing 310,478 visitors.
Through the first eight months of 2015, it is pretty obvious that everyone loves the Hoh. Since January, 222,084 have visited the Hoh Rainforest in 2015, an increase of 30.7% compared to 2014. August 2015 saw 63,963 visitors to this normally wet region, raising visitation 20.9% compared to August 2014.
Considered one of the most popular coastal regions in America, 264,793 visitors have explored the beaches of the region so far in 2015. The numbers for 2015 are up 16.4% for the year, compared with 2014. August was not as good of a month as previous years, losing 12.1% of visitors compared with the numbers of 2014. In August of 2015, 63,503 explored the beaches around LaPush.
It appears as if people love Kalaloch as much as ever, even though the numbers are slightly down for the year. Since January, 388,997 people have visited Kalaloch in 2015, down 2.1% compared to 2014. In August of 2015, 100,678 visitors explored from South Beach to Ruby Beach, an increase of 24.2% compared with August of 2014.
The popularity of Elwha died down quite substantially during August of 2015, seeing just 7,691 visitors in what appears to be a 91.4% decrease in visitation from the same month in 2014. The numbers look askew, but with multiple closures of areas occurring in the region, it could be correct. For the year, the Elwha region has seen 115,515 visitors, down 31.3% from 2014.
Despite a slow month, Hurricane Ridge is more popular through the first eight months of 2015 than it was during the same stretch in 2014, by 6.9%. So far in 2015, 322,976 visitors looks at the stunning views around Hurricane Ridge. The month of August was slow, seeing just 89,778 visitors and losing 10.5% in visitation numbers compared with August of 2014.
While other areas of Olympic National Park’s attendance suffered, the popularity of the coastal region of Ozette continues. Since the start of the year, 66,932 visitors have explored the most beautiful stretches of coast in America, up 31.9% compared with last year. For the month of August, visitation in the region jumped 31.8% compared with 2014, seeing 20,142 visitors.
The often overlooked rainforest of Quinault is having a better year than 2014, but just barely. Through the first eight months, 166,676 visitors have explored the lake, rivers and rainforest of Quinault, up 3% from 2014. For the month of August, Quinault lost traction, dropping 20.7% in visitation compared with 2014, seeing just 27,669 visitors.
The popularity of Staircase dropped ever so slightly in the month of August 2015. Through eight months, Staircase has still seen a 23.6% increase in visitation compared with 2014, but the month of August didn’t help. In August, 18,257 visitors explored the amazing trails of Staircase, down .6% compared with August of 2014.
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