Md. national park attendance down

Drops blamed on government shutdown of 2013

  • Fort! Flag! Fire! took place at Fort McHenry to mark the summer-long celebration of the Star Spangled Banner bicentennial.
Fort! Flag! Fire! took place at Fort McHenry to mark the summer-long… (Kaitlin Newman, Baltimore…)
July 18, 2014|By Luke Broadwater, The Baltimore Sun

Attendance at Maryland's national parks, including at Baltimore's Fort McHenry, dropped in 2013, thanks in part to a shutdown of the federal government that closed the parks, officials said.

Maryland's two dozen national parks took in 6.6 million visits last year, down by about 40,000 from 2012. The state's parks generated $212 million in 2013, about $5 million less than the year before.

Baltimore's Fort McHenry took in 678,000 visitors last year and $37,000, a drop from 2012 when the site brought in 700,000 visitors and $40,000.

Jeffrey Olson, a spokesman for the National Park Service, said parks across the country saw declines last year because many of them were closed for 16 days amid a fiscal struggle between congressional Republicans and the administration of President Barack Obama.

"Most everybody took a bit of a dip because of the shutdown," Olson said. "We expect visitation to bounce back this year."

Olson said visits nationally have increased by 1.5 million in 2014 compared to this time in 2012.

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