The National Parks Service celebrates 101 years as an organization Friday. The NPS manages 78 of the country's national monuments, along with 58 parks. Visitation at these parks and monuments is up, and so is the interest in finding unique ways to house travelers.
In the year 1920, there were 1 million recreational visits to NPS parks across the nation. That number has skyrocketed to 307 million visits in 2015, nearly the entire population of the U.S.
Summer is a popular time to tour national parks, including the nation’s fifth most popular park, Utah’s Zion National Park with 4 million yearly visitors.
“I think getting outside is really important and provides a really important way for people to restore and recharge,” said Alyssa Ravasio, CEO of the website Hipcamp, which connects travelers to private and public campsites. Rovasio said the popularity of national parks can make it difficult to find a place to stay.
“When I started planning my own camping trips, I felt so frustrated at how difficult it was to find a spot; so many of the campgrounds book up six months in advance,” she said.
Rovasio says the solution to the campsite shortage was reaching out to private families and businesses who can offer their land to camp on through Hipcamp.
“We started working with private land owners two summers ago to unlock access to entirely new places to camp,” she said. “These can be big nature preserves, ranches or farms; it really runs a big gamut of what we’re working with here.”
Hipcamp has sites all over the U.S., and even offers locations around Utah’s five national parks.