TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KLIX)-As 2020 forced the shutdown of businesses, schools, and events, millions of people headed outdoors and visited Idaho State Parks in record numbers.

According to the Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation, Idaho parks had 1.2 million more guests visit them in 2020 than in 2019. The latest figures for park visitation came out to 7,671,582 based on day users and campers. “It’s a mind-boggling number,” said Brian Beckley, chairman of the Idaho Parks and Recreation Board, which oversees the department in a prepared statement. “Never before have we had so many people come out to our parks. But with the pandemic keeping people indoors and isolated, outdoor recreation became one of the few things people could do responsibly to beat COVID cabin fever.”

The increase also put a strain on parks and made it difficult for staff to keep up with demand. Idaho Parks and Recreation figures show that most of the visitors were day-users while they'd seen a drop in campers, which was attributed to a two-month shut down of campgrounds at the beginning of the pandemic in Idaho.

Idaho State Park Visitation – 2014-2020

2020 7,671,582

2019 6,468,159

2018 6,401,356

2017 6,053,195

2016 5,429,403

2015 5,050,454

2014 5,308,769

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