Mount Magazine State Park, located 19 miles south of Paris, drew 13,312 fewer visitors from Memorial Day through Labor Day than for the same period last year, according to Park Superintendent Becky Bariola.
The reason? An unusually wet summer in Logan County, she said.
According to figures maintained by the park, 130,918 visitors came in the summer of 2015 from Memorial Day to Labor Day, compared to 117,606 for the same period this year.
Logan County received more than average amounts of rainfall in June and July this summer. In fact, July’s rain total was nearly 8 inches, almost double the average. Rainfall in August measured 2.65 inches, just short of the average. Bariola said the impact of the weather on attendance comes into sharper focus by breaking down the numbers.
“It rained a lot in July and early August,” she said. “The number of people staying in the lodge was about the same but the number of people coming up for the day dropped. In the past, the number of people coming up to ride all terrain vehicles has been going up, but not this year because of the rain.”
Those staying at the park can stay in the 60-room lodge, one of 13 guest cabins or in a campground.
Bariola also reported that the number of people eating meals at the Skycrest Restaurant, located in The Lodge at Mount Magazine State Park, actually went up this summer. In the summer of 2015, 20,363 people ate at the restaurant compared to 21,919 this year. Bariola said the number of people staying at the 13 campsites in the park increased by 12 percent this year.
The occupancy rate in the 2016 fiscal year, which ended in June, was 61 percent for the lodge and 84 percent for the cabins.
“We were way above industry standards, which is about 50 percent,” she said. “We had a good year, despite the rainy weather.”
Park staffers are now readying the facilities for the influx of visitors expected in October and November. Those months are popular for visitors because of the fall foliage.
“Last October and November, we had 102,600 visitors,” Bariola said. “We expect about the same this year, especially if we have a beautiful fall. In October and November, we typically have almost as many visitors as we get in three summer months. Right now, we’ve already got 15 bus groups scheduled to visit in October.”