National parks in Michigan see tourism increase

DETROIT (AP) — Federal data show that tourism to Michigan’s national parks has increased.

Figures from the National Park Service show that tourism is up more than 5 percent at the state’s national parks through July, The Detroit News reported.

The parks have seen a record number of visitors over the past two years. Reports show Michigan parks had 2.7 million visitors last year. The five parks this year have drawn more than 1.5 million from January through July.

“(Michigan has) even more visitors at this point in 2017 than we had in 2016, and 2016 was a record-breaking year,” said Lauren Blacik, special assistant for the National Park Service Midwest Region.

Isle Royale National Park in Lake Superior had seen almost 16,000 visitors by the end of July, a nearly 20 percent increase compared with the same period last year.

Merrith Baughman, chief of interpretation and visitor services at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Park, said July was the first time the park reached more than half a million visitors in a month.