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Labor Day Weekend Brings Record Crowds to the Grand Canyon

Michael Quinn/NPS

Over Labor Day Weekend, Grand Canyon National Park had a record number of visitors. Officials say an improving economy and the National Park Service’s upcoming centennial are responsible for the spike. Arizona Public Radio’s Ryan Heinsius reports.

The number of entrance-fee transactions at the South Rim was the highest the park has ever recorded over the Labor Day Weekend.

“We’re looking at a 26 to 30 percent increase over last year’s visitation. Statistically speaking, the numbers we experienced this weekend are the largest that we’ve had all year,” says Marlon Avantyr, the park’s revenue and fee business manager.

Avantyr says last weekend park staff set up a bypass lane to reduce entrance wait times, allowing pass holders to enter more quickly.

The National Park Service launched its Find Your Park campaign this year to reintroduce the public to U-S parks and promote its 100th birthday in 2016. Grand Canyon officials say that effort has been a success, with monthly visitation up nearly 30 percent in 2015.

On average, about 4.5 million people visit the Grand Canyon every year. Final traffic numbers for Labor Day Weekend will be available to the public next month.

Ryan joined KNAU's newsroom as executive producer in 2013. He covers a broad range of stories from local, state and tribal politics to education, economy, energy and public lands issues, and frequently interviews internationally known and regional musicians. Ryan is an Edward R. Murrow Award winner and a frequent contributor to NPR.
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