Missouri State Parks See Increase in Attendance

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COLUMBIA - More than 18 million people visited Missouri state parks and historical sites in 2012 according to a press release from the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.

This a 1.38% increase in attendance from 2011 and marks the fourth consecutive year of increased attendance.

As for Columbia area parks, Rock Bridge Memorial State Park saw about 22,000 more visitors in 2012 than 2011. However, Finger Lakes State Park saw about 1,000 less visitors in the same time frame. Neither park was available for comment on their 2012 attendance.

For Columbia resident and frequent park-goer Bob Martin, the increase in attendance is hardly noticed. "The nice about these parks is they've got enough trails to absorb a lot of visitors," said Martin.

According to the press release, results from a 2011 economic study showed state park vistor expenditures totaled about $778 million.