The number of visitors to Death Valley National Park broke the 1 million mark for the first time in more than a decade.
Approximately 1.1 million people visited the park in 2014, an increase from nearly 952,000 in 2013. In a statement, park officials credited declining gas prices and the renovation to the Furnace Creek Visitor Center with up-to-date exhibits and informational stations to aid park visitors for the increase.
The largest month was August with 123,363 visitors, with 122,761 May visitors not far behind.
It is the eighth time the national park has registered 1 million visitors. Death Valley had at least 1 million visitors from 1995 to 2001, with the largest number of visitors being 1.23 million in 1999.
A recent National Park Service report shows that visitors in 2013 spent more than $75 million in communities near the park, supporting 883 jobs in the local area.
“Death Valley is proud to welcome visitors from across the country and around the world,” Park Superintendent Kathy Billings said in a statement. “We are delighted to share the story of this place and the experiences it provides and to use the park as a way to introduce our visitors to this part of the country and all that it offers.”
Death Valley is the largest national park in the lower United States, covering 3.4 million acres.
With the promise of an upcoming spring bloom and in anticipation of the National Park Services Centennial in 2016, park staff are planning for a busy year—including the summer months. Each of the warm months of May through September saw substantial increases in year-to-year figures.
Death Valley’s visitor numbers ranked 72nd out of 367 national parks and sites in 2014. Golden Gate National Recreation Area topped the list with 15 million visitors.
Lake Mead National Recreation Area outside Boulder City was sixth with 6.9 million visitors last year.