Lake Meredith surpasses 1 million annual visitors in 2016

Lake Meredith surpasses 1 million annual visitors in 2016
Source: KFDA
Source: KFDA
Source: KFDA
Source: KFDA

FRITCH, TX (KFDA) - As the water level at Lake Meredith continues to rise, so does the number of visitors.

2016 saw more than 1 million visitors to the lake, a goal the park hast not hit since 2009.

Last year saw a 23% increase in visitors from 2015.

Park staff list low gas prices, more water, nicer weather, and more things to do as a few reasons more than 1 million people came to the lake last year.

"It was impressive, I mean that's like it used to be years ago," said Tim Cruze, Chief of Interpretation and Communication for Lake Meredith. "That lets us know that some of the things we're doing are good, and people are starting to come back. A lot of people who had been coming out here for years with boats and stuff started to come back."

The 100 year anniversary of the national parks system was celebrated in 2016, and national parks across the country all saw more visitors.

Lake Meredith hosted its 4th of July fireworks show for the first time in years, and worked to build more hiking and biking trails and boat ramps to attract and accommodate more people.

"A lot of people don't realize they've got a national park in their own backyard, and there's so many things to do here in the park," said Cruze. "Not just boating and fishing and swimming but camping, or we have all sorts of ranger led activities that are really fun."

Park staff is already working on several new events for this summer to try to get that visitation number for 2017 even higher.

"We're eventually, within the next 5 years we're hoping, we're going to have a trail that will go all the way around the lake, connecting all the different sections," said Cruze. "It will probably be 60+ miles of trails."

Some campsites will be getting full RV hookups this spring.

Soon construction on a movie screen will begin at the Fritch Fortress Amphitheater where free outdoor movies will be shown at the lake this summer.

Star Wars: Rogue One will be the first free movie of the season on May 27th.

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