Believe the hype. It worked. When the summer travel season began in May, analysts predicted high gas prices would keep families close to home. They would spend more time at closer locations, heading to state parks instead of far-off funlands.
And you did. Park visitation at the state’s parks in May was up by 100,000 compared to May 2007, according to figures from the Department of Tourism. Pretty good Oklahoma. You are following the national trend. The word staycation is etched into your brain and you’re opting for tents instead of king-size beds and water slides.
Be grateful you live in Oklahoma were state parks don’t charge an entrance fee. It’s free to spend the day in an Oklahoma park and have a picnic. Free…I repeat free. In some states you could expect to pay $5 or more just to get into a park. National parks are nearly double that.
As the Department of Tourism looks to make improvements at parks around the state, the increased visitation numbers can’t hurt when asking for additional funds from the Legislature. It’s more bang for their buck.
On top of that, it’s nice to know that more people are seeing the diverse landscape of Oklahoma. More people are sitting around campfires and talking. More people are hiking, biking and taking in the natural beauty. All without the aid of cellphones, laptops and televisions. Sounds good to me.