Fom today's Hagerstown Herald-Mail [March 13, 2008]:
Antietam Battlefield drew more visitors in 2007
The National Park Service visitation statistics for 2007 show that servicewide, 360 reporting units in the National Park system experienced an average increase in visitation of 1.1 percent. Two local parks, Antietam National Battlefield and Catoctin Mountain Park, reported a more significant increase in visitation.
In 2006, 282,676 visitors went to Antietam's Visitor Center and paid the park's entry fee. In 2007, there were 337,569 visitors, an increase of 19.4 percent, or nearly 55,000 more people, according to a release from the Hagerstown-Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau.
The park typically attracts more visitors during major anniversary years, including the most recent 145th anniversary of the Battle of Antietam. September 2007 marked the 145th anniversary of the Battles of South Mountain and Antietam. "The 145th anniversary of the Battle of Antietam was a huge success," said park superintendent John Howard. "One of the reasons for our increase in visitation was the partnership that exists between the battlefield, the Hagerstown-Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Heart of the Civil War Heritage Area." National Park Service figures show that from Sept. 8 to 23, 98,297 people visited the battlefield.
Tom Riford, president of the CVB, said that hotels, campgrounds, and B&B's saw increases in occupancy during that period, as did retail and restaurant businesses. "Because of increased awareness about Antietam, we also have seen the residual effect of higher occupancy, well after the actual anniversary," he said.
A 2005 Civil War Preservation Trust report, noted that Antietam National Battlefield Park creates more than $10 million of local economic impact annually. The report said that 309 jobs are created or maintained independent of the battlefield, that every 702 tourists support one full-time or full-time equivalent job. "If the count for all park visitors was used, the job figure is nearly 500," Riford said in the release.
Full article is at:
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