A new National Park Service report estimates nearly 3.7 million people visited Yosemite National Park last year and spent more than $373 million in communities surrounding the park.
Visitation was actually down from about 4 million in 2012 due to a variety of factors. Those include everything from last year’s massive Rim Fire and federal government shutdown to rising gas prices and the state’s lingering drought, said park spokeswoman Kari Cobb.
“When we have waterfalls that don’t last as long, we tend to see less people,” she added.
Cobb said recent thunderstorms have caused the park’s waterfalls to flow again.
“What you’re seeing right now is actually rainfall, not melting snowpack,” she said.
Waterfalls — along with famed rock formations Half Dome and El Capitan — are the park’s main tourist draws, Cobb said.
This week’s NPS report, conducted by economists with the U.S. Geological Survey, states that spending from park visitors supports 5,033 jobs in the Yosemite region.
For the complete story, see the July 24, 2014, edition of The Union Democrat.