North Dakota reports record camping numbers amid pandemic

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota’s 13 state parks have hit record camping numbers during the coronavirus pandemic.

The state’s Parks and Recreation Department reported a 35% increase in campsite nights from May 1-Oct. 31 compared to the same period in 2019. Camping boomed exponentially in September and October, up 173% and 339%, respectively, over 2019.

“I think you still had people looking for something to do outside and to be able to ... get on a trail, have some open spaces, be with their family,” Parks and Recreation Director Andrea Travnicek told the Bismarck Tribune.

Annual park pass sales were up 18% this year from 2019. Travnicek is hopeful to see what 2021 brings for park visitors after the record year.

“Whether they were returning or whether they were new campers, (they) really wanted to be able to take advantage of those wide open spaces of those parks,” she said.