GATLINBURG (WATE) – The Great Smoky Mountains National Park set a visitation record in 2016, welcoming more than 11 million people throughout the year.
The park encouraged people to visit the park in honor of the National Park Service Centennial. As a result, 11,312,785 people visited, a 5.6 percent increase over 2015.
Over 2,200 people joined Superintendent Cassius Cash and completed the Smokies Centennial Hike 100 challenge by hiking 100 miles of trails in the park.
Also last year over 2,230 park volunteers donated over 117,000 hours of service. Volunteers helped with trail maintenance, invasive plant removal, and providing visitor information.
Front country camping increased by 3.1 percent to 327,033 campers. Backcountry camping also increased to over 109,344 campers, a 12 percent increase from 2015.