Visitors to Bay Area national parks including the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, Muir Woods National Monument and Fort Point National Historic Site are up this year, according to National Park Service officials.
While current figures are not available, park service officials said that good weather and the improving economy have drawn visitors in numbers not seen since before Sept. 11, 2001.
Around 16.5 million people visited Bay Area national parks in 2010, contributing more than $403 million to the Bay Area economy, according to a National Park Service report released Thursday.
The Golden Gate National Recreation Area alone is the second most visited national park in the country, with more than 14.5 million visitors in 2011, officials said.
"If visitation stays at this level, and with the 75th anniversary of the Golden Gate Bridge and activities for the 34th America's Cup planned for this year, this anniversary year could be one of the busiest yet," said General Superintendent Frank Dean.
Bay Area national parks in 2010 spent around $100 million in government and philanthropic funds on projects, infrastructure improvements, salaries and general upkeep. The parks employ around 1800 people in the Bay Area, officials said.
--Bay City News Service