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The National Park Service recorded a record-breaking 331 million visits during the National Park Service’s centennial year in 2016, a 7.7% increase over 2015, the park service announced Friday, March 10.

“America’s national parks are national treasures that tell the story of our nation and celebrate its beauty, history and culture,” said Acting Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt in a press release.

“I am pleased that so many Americans and visitors from around the world continue to take advantage of the affordable and accessible recreational opportunities provided by these sites,” said Bernhardt, whose department oversees the National Park Service.

“The visitation to our national parks continues to affirm that Americans are in love with their public lands and hold dear the stories of our nation embodied in the natural, cultural and historic landscapes we protect in the National Park System,” said National Park Service Deputy Director Dan Smith, in the same release.

Zinke was referring to the $11.6 billion in deferred maintenance at the nation’s 417 National Park Service sites, which include the 59 headliner National Parks as well as national recreation areas, seashores, parkways, memorials, battlefields and more. Increased attendance at the destinations, only 118 of which charge admission, means that many locations can’t keep up with repairs.

Many visitors probably stayed away during the recent government shutdown, even though many NPS sites were open.

In some previous shutdowns, the park service had closed many of the sites due to lack of funding for staffing.

In the most recent shutdown, from December 22, 2018 to January 25, 2019, the gates mostly remained opened but often without sufficient staffing to clean bathrooms or in one case, to protect Joshua Tree’s famous plant life. (In several cases, park user fees, state and local governments, non-profits and businesses helped keep NPS sites open.)

Some of the best known national parks, including Joshua Tree National Park and Yosemite National Park, suffered damage.

The National Park Service already faces $11.6 billion in deferred maintenance across the 418 sites, most of which do not charge an admission fee.

Four parks attract more than 40 million visits

Golden Gate National Recreation Area was the most popular national park site, attracting more than 15.6 million visitors last year, followed by Blue Ridge Parkway (15.2 million), Great Smoky Mountains National Park (11.3 million) and George Washington Memorial Parkway (10.3 million).

Great Smoky Mountains National Park (11.4 million) came in third place, followed by Gateway National Recreation Area (9.2 million) and the Lincoln Memorial (nearly 8 million).

Eleven park sites attracted more than 5 million recreation visits each, including Grand Canyon National Park, Natchez Trace Parkway, Vietnam Veterans Memorial and Yosemite National Park.

Among the 61 national parks, Great Smoky Mountains National Park came in first place, followed by Grand Canyon National Park, Rocky Mountain National Park, Zion National Park and Yellowstone National Park.

Great Smoky Mountains and Grand Canyon have held the top two spots since 1990.

1. Blue Ridge Parkway (NC/VA): 16,093,765 visits ($461,564,707 million deferred maintenance)

2. Blue Ridge Parkway (NC/VA): 14,690,418 visits

3. Great Smoky Mountains National Park (NC/TN): 11,388,893 visits ($215,451,902 deferred maintenance)

4. Gateway National Recreation Area (NY/NJ): 9,190,610 visits ($788,419,471 deferred maintenance)

5. Lincoln Memorial (DC): 7,956,117 visits ($33,868,238 deferred maintenance)

6. Lake Mead National Recreation Area (AZ/NV): 7,882,339 visits ($205,540,564 deferred maintenance)

7. George Washington Memorial Parkway (DC/MD/VA): 7,562,793 visits ($655,330,330 deferred maintenance)

8. Natchez Trace Parkway (AL/MS/TN): 6,326,062 visits ($361,294,324 deferred maintenance)

9. Natchez Trace Parkway (AL/MS/TN): 6,362,439 visits

10. Vietnam Veterans Memorial (DC): 5,072,589 visits ($625,250 deferred maintenance)

1. Great Smoky Mountains National Park (NC/TN): 11,388,893 visits ($215,451,902 deferred maintenance)

2. Grand Canyon National Park (AZ): 6,254,238 visits ($329,437,056 deferred maintenance)

3. Rocky Mountain National Park (CO): 4,590,493 visits

3. Zion National Park (UT): 4,504,812 visits ($65,291,893 deferred maintenance)

5. Yellowstone National Park (ID/MT/WY): 4,115,000 visits

5. Yosemite National Park (CA): 4,336,890 visits ($582,670,827 deferred maintenance)

7. Acadia National Park (ME): 3,509,271 visits ($59,858,099 deferred maintenance)

8. Grand Teton National Park (WY): 3,491,151 visits

8. Olympic National Park (WA): 3,401,996 visits ($120,719,515 deferred maintenance)

10, Glacier National Park (MT): 3,305,512 visits ($153,838,276 deferred maintenance)

Free for fourth-graders

Every fourth-grader around the country can still get a free one-year national parks pass for the student and his or her family under the “Every Kid in a Park” program, which has attracted more than 350,000 fourth-graders in its first two years of operation.

This story was first published on March 4, 2019, and was updated for National Park Week.