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Published October 17, 2011, 05:13 PM

State Park Visits Down This Year Over Last

TURTLE RIVER STATE PARK (WDAZ-TV) - Visitation to North Dakota's state parks is down between 15 and 20 percent this year mainly due to flooding.

TURTLE RIVER STATE PARK (WDAZ-TV) - Visitation to North Dakota's state parks is down between 15 and 20 percent this year mainly due to flooding.

Turtle River State Park is one place that had an increase.

The 13 state parks had more than 800,000 visitors compared to nearly 1 million last year.

Last year state parks saw more than 61,000 campers. This year that was down nearly 10,000.

Park officials say with flooding, parks like Fort Abraham Lincoln south of Mandan closed in May losing more than 6500 visitors.

Grahams Island near Devils Lake had issues with flooding, usually seeing 100,000 visitors, there were half that this year.

Other state parks like Turtle River saw an increase of more than 5 percent.

"It started out pretty poor, you know we had a really cool, wet spring. May and June visitation was down not looking very good but we actually ended the season with numbers higher than last year both in camping, cabin nights I think we were up 350 camping nights," park manager Steve Crandall said.

State Park officials say although several parks were not open the full season, the ones that were saw increases in numbers.

Officials say although they get some money from the legislature, most of their revenue comes from annual permits and daily park passes, so they are hoping 2012 is a better year to make up for some of the money lost.

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