March 25, 2021 | Colleen Coulon love
Due to the pandemic, tourism outside of the state in Alaska was hit hard last year. Cruise traffic stopped and airlines saw their driver numbers drop. But that doesn’t mean the Alaskans stayed home. One of the most pandemic-friendly activities is camping, and Alaskans went to their state parks in record numbers in 2020.
According to Wendy Sailors of the Department of Natural Resources, the division’s campground occupancy increased 13 percent from 2019 to 2020. The biggest increase was at the K’esugi (cow-SUE-ghee) Ken Campground in Denali State Park. which rose from a nightly occupancy rate of 22 percent to 71 percent.
Ms. Sailors said the increased revenue at the state parks helped offset the division’s higher maintenance and operating costs. And while the pandemic continues to pose challenges in securing summer staff and camp hosts, the department is preparing for another successful and safe camping season.