BOISE, Idaho (KIFI) - As COVID-19 kept people closer to home, 2020 became a banner year for Idaho State Parks. Idaho Parks and Recreation said 7,671,482 guests visited state parks last year, 1.2 million more than in any previous year.
The previous record was set in 2019.
“It’s a mind-boggling number,” said Brian Beckley, chairman of the Idaho Parks and Recreation Board, which oversees the department. “Never before have we had so many people come out to our parks. But with the pandemic keeping people indoors and isolated, outdoor recreation became one of the few things people could do responsibly to beat COVID cabin fever.”
Idaho State Park Visitation – 2014-2020
- 2020 7,671,582
- 2019 6,468,159
- 2018 6,401,356
- 2017 6,053,195
- 2016 5,429,403
- 2015 5,050,454
- 2014 5,308,769
The overall numbers reflect both day-users and campers, but the parks were most heavily used for 7 million day-visits.
Camper numbers were below 2019 levels at 647,743. Idaho Park officials believe the decrease was due to the two-month campground closures that happened near the beginning of the pandemic.
Some of the heaviest overall increases happened at Lucky Peak, Bear Lake, City of Rocks, and Thousand Springs. You can review the numbers at your favorite state park site here.