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Joshua Tree National Park set a record for annual visitation in 2016 of over 2.5M. If the number of visitors for the first quarter of this year is any indication, Joshua Tree will be posting another record year.
Visitation for the month of March 2016 was 327,072. Visitor numbers for the same month in 2017 increased to 404,545 which is the largest monthly visitation in the park’s history. April of 2016 posted 242,959 visitors which increased this year to 361,992. Total park visitation since the first of the year is up 27% from 2016.
Superintendent David Smith said, “We are working hard to deal with the congestion brought on by increased numbers. The park is reconfiguring entrance stations, assigning rangers at trailheads and parking areas and constructing a new visitor center at Cottonwood Springs. We are also launching a new shuttle service in the park which will start in October and we hope will reduce traffic and parking issues”.
Fair weather and the abundance of wildflowers this year has significantly contributed to the spring increase in visitor numbers. The park reminds visitors to obey speed limits, to only park in designated areas, and dogs are not allowed on hiking trails.