2014 Missouri park attendance hits record 18.5M visitors

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Elephant Rocks State Park.

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) – A record of more than 18.5 million guests visited Missouri state parks in 2014.

Gov. Jay Nixon on Tuesday announced the attendance during a visit Bennett Spring State Park in south central Missouri.

The governor says park attendance has helped the state economy by supporting more than 14,500 jobs.

Camping occupancy at the state’s 40 parks and historic sites with campsites also increased about 5 percent last year, in part because of a bump in youth camping. About a quarter of campers in 2014 were under 18 years old.