Visitor numbers decline at parks

Declines in visitors continued in March at Mount Rainier and Olympic national parks.

At Mount Rainier, the number of recreational visits was 17,283 in March, down 34.6 percent from March 2010. At Olympic, the decline was 8.6 percent, falling from 114,917 in March 2010 to 105,061 recreational visits this year.

The year-to-date trend is the same at both parks. Through the first three months of the year, Mount Rainier had 58,463 recreational visits. That is down 26.6 percent from the first quarter of 2010. At Olympic, the first quarter count was 254,501 recreational visits, down 14.5 percent from the first three months of 2010. The count so far for 2011 is the lowest in the last five years at Olympic.

The drop at the two parks bucks the trend being seeing across the National Park Service. Year-to-date recreation visits have increased 3.9 percent for the first three months of 2011 to 39.8 million.

Compiled by Jeffrey P. Mayor, staff writer