This year saw Grand Canyon National Park surpassing six million visitors for the first time in its 97-year history. On December 12, the Johnson family from Las Vegas, Nevada, were honored with the distinction of being the “six millionth visitor” as they entered the park at the South Rim Entrance Station.
The Johnsons were invited to park headquarters for a cake-cutting ceremony with Superintendent Chris Lehnertz, park staff, and members of the local business community. The celebrated family told the crowd that they were in the nearby town of Williams for the Polar Express Experience train ride and decided to tack on a visit to the Grand Canyon while in the area.
According to National Park Service statistics, Grand Canyon National Park has hosted over 200 million visitors since its inception in 1919. This year’s record represented a 7.5% increase over 2015 due in part to the “Find Your Park” campaign, a multi-million dollar public relations effort by the NPS launched in March of 2015 to promote the agency’s 100th anniversary in 2016.
There is little reason to expect this trend to reverse any time soon, so make your plans early if you’re planning to visit your favorite canyon in the New Year!