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Crater Lake sets visitor record second year in a row

Crater Lake set another record for visitors in 2016, drawing 756,344 people to Oregon's only national park.

The total was 23 percent more than 2015, when the park set the previous record of 614,712. Nearly 83 percent of visits in 2016, or 621,791, were recorded from June through September.

Crater Lake public information officer Jennifer Evans said she couldn't point to any one concrete reason for the attendance boom. But she believes the advertising campaign "Find Your Park" and the National Park Service's 100th birthday celebration Aug. 25 likely helped.

"Perhaps people were coming to celebrate that," Evans said.

Park officials also credited marketing efforts by regional tourism agencies and special events such as the Britt Orchestra's "Natural History" performance in late July, which featured the orchestra unveiling a new composition outdoors.

Monthly visits peaked in July, with 190,231. Overnight backcountry stays increased to 4,706 in 2016, a nearly 45 percent increase from 2015's 3,253, according to a park news release.

Visits for the first two months of 2017 are down from last year, with 1,935 visitors in January and 1,402 in February. In 2016, 3,112 people visited in January and 7,170 in February.

As a whole, the National Parks Service recorded 330,971,689 visits to the 417 parks in its system, an increase of 23.7 million from 2015.

— Reach reporter Ryan Pfeil at 541-776-4468 or rpfeil@mailtribune.com. Follow him at www.twitter.com/ryanpfeil.