State officials say the booming Bakken oil region of western North Dakota’s isn’t just driving folks to the state, but also its parks.
The Associated Press reported that state parks officials this week said the state’s parks are setting visitation records again this year as the state’s population continues to increase.
Greg Corcoran, the manager at Lake Sakakawea State Park, said the park had about 115,000 visitors last year. This year, he said they’ve seen an estimated 140,000 visitors.
The park has long been one of the most popular parks in the state system, but now it’s filling with visitors every weekend, said Gordon Weixel, a spokesman with the state parks department.
“It’s always been a very strong park,” he said. “Now there’s just so much demand. It’s part of a trend.”
U.S. Census Bureau data show North Dakota’s population has increased from about 672,500 people in 2010 to nearly 724,000 in 2013.
Mark Zimmerman, the North Dakota Parks and Recreation director, said the park system is also seeing an increase is campers in addition to regular visitors.
“We know camper nights is at an all-time record with 68,000 across the system this year, the highest we’ve ever had,” he said.
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