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Camping numbers at ND state parks break records in 2020

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Graham's Island
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North Dakota parks saw their highest number of campers in history during the 2020 season.

The state Parks and Recreation Department said there was a 35 percent increase in campsite nights in 2020, as compared with 2019.

"We saw a lot of different folks coming from all over the state, and even some from outside the state, still trying to find great recreation opportunities right here in North Dakota," said state Parks director Andrea Travnicek.

Travnicek said the largest increase in the numbers came during September and October. September had a 173% increase, while October was up 339%, compared with 2019.

Travnicek said while out of state visitation dropped by about 5 percent, in-state campers more than made up that difference. She does attribute that increase, in part, to COVID-19 conditions.

"The parks provided those outside large areas, where people could still find areas to social-distance and recreate where they were a little more spaced out than normal activities you would find in town," Travnicek said.

The park with the most campers was Grahams Island State Park, at Devils Lake.

"Devils Lake provides a great fishing industry," Travnicek said. "It's a beautiful park, with camping and open-water opportunities."

North Dakota has 13 state parks.

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