MUNISING, Mich. (WLUC) - Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore never disappoints for a picture perfect opportunity for tourists and locals who are constantly blown away by the 12 mile Pictured Rock Shoreline.
"Just makes your mind wonder exactly how Mother Nature made this the land the way it is and how many years and centuries it took to get this way," said Tim Kitchen, a tourist from Davison Michigan. "It’s gorgeous."
As one of 400 national parks in the United States, hundreds of thousands around the country visit every year. Officials said 2016 saw more than 700,000 people and so far this year, tourism is up 1% from last year.
"A lot of visitation came with an increase in January, February and March," said Susan Reece, the chief of interpretation and education at Pictured Rocks. "July was up about 3%, August was down 11%, June was down, May was down a bit as well, so we are kind of even if you look at the whole year."
These totals are only including visitors coming to the 42 miles of national park from Munising to Grand Marais not the boat or kayak cruises.
"These are numbers from the log slide area, from Grand Sable Center area and to our campground area and our beaches," said Reece.
Pictured Rocks said they’ve seen an increase in backpackers and hikers selling about 25,000 permits so far this year which is a major increase since last year’s 20,000.
"Consistently we are going up on the number of backpackers visiting the park. It's a great park to backpack, it’s not super difficult or hilly or anything like that," said Reece.
Officials said they expect the rest of the year to bring in a little under 200,000 visitors to the park. Pictured Rocks is already planning an event in February to celebrate Pictured Rocks place on the U.S. quarter.