San Francisco

Most Visited National Park in 2016: Golden Gate National Recreation Area

The Golden Gate National Recreation Area was the most visited national park in 2016 during a record year of park visits nationwide, the National Park Service said Monday.

More than 19 million people visited the GGNRA, which spans 83,000 acres in Marin, San Francisco and San Mateo counties. There were 2.3 million visitors at Fort Point National Historic Site and 1.1 million visitors at Muir Woods National Monument, according to the National Park Service.

U.S. Department of the Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said last week 331 million people visited national parks in 2016 - a third consecutive record for the National Park Service which celebrated its centennial last year.

"It's inspiring to see the number of visitors, especially young people, enjoying their national parks," acting Golden Gate Superintendent Craig Kenkel said. Visitors came from the Bay Area and around the world, Kenkel said.

During the centennial celebration, the National Park Service's Find Your Park/Encuentra Tu Parques campaign and programs like Every Kid in a Park drove the record number of visitors and helped the NPS reach new audiences and future stewards, Kenkel said.

Locally, hundreds of San Francisco residents made their first visit to the Golden Gate National Recreation Area in 2016 using free shuttles in partnership with the San Francisco Public Library's summer reading program and the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy.

The Parking the Parks program hosted 70 Bay Area youth on a multi-day backpacking trip through parks in the three counties, the National Parks Service said. Many of those visitors had never visited a national park.

National Parks Service statistics on visitations are available at the National Parks Service website.

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