Milder summer weather boosts state park revenue

Revenue at Indiana’s state parks rose nearly 20 percent this summer as cooler temperatures enticed visitors.

State parks and reservoirs drew $12.3 million in entrance, camping and rental fees between the week before Memorial Day through Labor Day, according to the Indiana Department of Natural Resources.

Revenue was up from $10.35 million over the same time in 2012.

Revenue was $11.2 million from Memorial Day through Labor Day in 2011.

“A lot of [the increase] is due to the seasonably cooler weather we’ve had this year compared to the extreme heat, drought, burn bans and closed beaches we had last year,” agency spokesman Marty Benson said.

The Indiana State Climate Office recorded two of the hottest and driest Junes and Julys on record in 2012. Those months this summer were cooler and wetter than a year ago, the office reported.

A price increase this year for annual passes, from $36 to $40, also boosted park revenue, Benson said. Single admissions remained $5 for Indiana residents at most parks.

The DNR manages 34 parks and reservoirs in the state. Indiana Dunes State Park in Chesterton and Brown County State Park near Nashville are historically the most popular parks, Benson said, each drawing more than 1 million visitors per year.

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