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Low 2015 snowpack contributed to Crater Lake visitor surge

BEND — Park officials are partially crediting a low snowpack that opened roads and facilities earlier with the record number of Crater Lake National Park visitors last year. 

The Bulletin reports a news release from the park shows visitation up 13.5 percent compared to 2014, at 664,000 visitors in 2015.

The park has been closely tracking visitors for 25 years.

Last winter's low snowpack allowed the park's roads and facilities to open earlier in the spring.

The data at Crater Lake is in line with a countrywide increase in visitors to national parks. The 305 million visitors in the national parks system in 2015 exceeded the previous year's record.