The North Dakota Parks & Recreation Department had its highest number of campers recorded in the department’s history during the 2020 season. The department saw a 35% increase in campsite nights this season compared to 2019. The increase in camping was a trend in the 13 state parks across the state, all of which were open and operating under CDC guidelines as destinations for visitors to safely recreate in an outdoor environment.
“North Dakota state parks provided a safe, social distance setting during an uncertain time this camping season,” stated Director Andrea Travnicek. “State parks have always offered wide-open landscapes and diverse recreation opportunities, so we were excited to see new and returning visitors this season. We saw a lot of first-time campers in our parks this summer and look forward to their return visits this winter and in the upcoming year.”
Typically, the camping season in North Dakota is from May through August; however, this season, the largest increase in camping numbers was seen during September and October. September had a 173% increase, and October had a 339% increase. Yearly visitation from out-of-state campers dropped by 5%.
The department recently introduced an updated volunteer program. Volunteer opportunities, including being a campground host, are currently open for this winter and the upcoming 2021 camping season. Additionally, the department rolled out the 2021 annual vehicle permit last week. The design for the permit this year showcases the upcoming 50th anniversary of Little Missouri State Park located in the North Dakota badlands. The vehicle permits allow access into any of the 13 North Dakota State Parks throughout the year. Vehicle permits can be purchased online at www.parkrec.nd.gov and all state park locations.
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