The 100th birthday of the National Park Service is just a little more than one month away—August 25. The anniversary will be marked in many ways this year at the parks and by businesses that support and benefit from the parks. Our industry benefits greatly from these parks. It is difficult to even imagine how many room nights each year are attributable to the parks. The National Park Service was created by an act signed by President Woodrow Wilson on August 25, 1916. The system includes 412 areas covering more than 84 million acres in every state, the District of Columbia, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. These areas include national parks, monuments, battlefields, military parks, historical parks, historic sites, lakeshores, seashores, recreation areas, scenic rivers and trails, and the White House. The total recreation visitors to the national parks in 2015: an impressive 307,247,252.
The most visited place in the National Park System in 2015 was the Blue Ridge Parkway with more than 15 million visitors. The second most visited: the Golden Gate National Recreation Area with almost 15 million visitors.
If your property benefits in any way from visitors to the parks, or even if it does not, find a way to support the National Park Service in 2016 and beyond. One example of a group of hotels doing its part is the 14 Hilton Worldwide hotels in and around Washington, D.C. They are offering a “Find Your Park DC Package and inviting guests to explore the National Mall and Memorial Parks. The package includes a house-made granola snack pack, two bottles of water, two pairs of gardening gloves, tote bag, Junior Ranger activity guide and opportunity to earn a Junior Ranger Badge. From now through September 6, 2016, for every Find Your Park Package room night booked and stayed, participating Hilton Worldwide hotels in the Washington, D.C. area will make a donation of $5 to the National Mall & Memorial Parks, up to $20,000. On August 25, hotel guests are being invited to join hotel team members at National Mall and Memorial Parks from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. for a community service and beautification project. Guests are encouraged to find inspiration and share their memories on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter with #FindYourPark and #FindYourParkDC.