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Media inquiries: Please contact Julie Buchanan,, 804-786-2292.

Date: June 19, 2012
Contact: Jim Meisner Jr., DCR Public Relations Specialist, (804) 786-8442,

Virginia State Parks host record-high holiday visitation

(RICHMOND) - Virginia State Parks hosted a record-setting number of visitors during this year's Memorial Day weekend. The May 25-28 attendance of 314,326 was an increase of 16 percent over Memorial Day weekend 2011.

 The award-winning Virginia State Parks, managed by the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, had 43,285 more visitors this year than last year.

 Attendance in state parks through May 31 was 2.6 million, 13.7 percent more than the same time last year.

 "Hot and sunny weather, combined with a national trend of people looking for close-to-home, affordable recreation, made our 2012 Memorial Day weekend a record-breaking one," said DCR State Parks Director Joe Elton.

 Two parks, Lake Anna State Park, in Spotsylvania County, and Raymond R. "Andy" Guest Jr. Shenandoah River State Park, in Warren County, had to restrict access during peak periods when they ran out of parking spaces.

 "The demands on all our staff and volunteers were intense," Elton said. "But we had another successful holiday weekend, and we're expecting another successful summer."

 The weekend was significant in the cash register, as well. State parks saw revenue increase 15 percent over last year.
 "Over the past two years, we have seen revenues for this weekend increase by 26 percent," Elton said. "This one long weekend accounts for $688,225 in revenue."

 While Virginia State Parks are a primary vacation destination for millions of people from around the country, state parks also are an economic stimulant to local economies. The estimated economic impact of Virginia State Parks in 2011 was $187 million.

 Throughout the year, Virginia State Parks offer dozens of festivals and concerts and thousands of educational programs across the state.

 For more information about state park activities and amenities, or to make reservations in a campsite, cabin or family lodge, call the Virginia State Parks Reservation Center at 800-933-PARK or visit

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