L.A.’s National Park Sets Visitation Record

Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, the national park that stretches from the city of Los Angeles west into Ventura County, recorded 906,606 visits in 2016.

“This was a record-breaking year of visitation for us,” said David Szymanski, superintendent of Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area. “The park’s scenic vistas and extensive trail network offer an escape from the modern world for both local and non-local visitors alike.”

The increase in visitation, up from 797,126 visits in 2015, may be due in part to the success of the Find Your Park/Encuentra Tu Parque campaign launched with the National Park Foundation, as well as a growing interest in outdoor activities. The busiest months were March, May and June.

The numbers only represent the number of visitors to federal land in the Santa Monica Mountains and do not include visits to other public land, such as California State Parks, located within the park boundary.

“As more Southern Californians discover and enjoy their local national park, philanthropic dollars continue to play an important role in maintaining and enhancing this unique destination,” said Charlotte Parry, executive director of the Santa Monica Mountains Fund. “Last year private dollars contributed to the completion of the 67-mile Backbone Trail, wildlife research, and field trips for local fourth-graders.”

The uptick in the Santa Monica Mountains reflects a larger trend of increased visitation throughout the National Park System. The National Park Service announced a record 331 million visits to America’s national parks in 2016, the third consecutive record-breaking year.

Four parks had more than 10 million recreation visits: Golden Gate National Recreation Area, Blue Ridge Parkway, Great Smoky Mountains National Park and George Washington Memorial Parkway.

For more information about visitation, please go to the National Park Service Visitor Use Statistics web page at https://irma.nps.gov/Stats/.


Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area (SMMNRA) is the largest urban national park in the country, encompassing more than 150,000 acres of mountains and coastline in Ventura and Los Angeles counties. A unit of the National Park Service, it comprises a seamless network of local, state, and federal parks interwoven with private lands and communities. As one of only five Mediterranean ecosystems in the world, SMMNRA preserves the rich biological diversity of more than 450 animal species and 26 distinct plant communities. For more information, visit www.nps.gov/samo.


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