- Associated Press - Wednesday, January 18, 2017

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - A record number of people visited Virginia state parks in 2016.

Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s office announced Tuesday that park attendance rose 12 percent from the year before, with more than 10 million visitors.

State officials credited good weather, lower gas prices and a year-long celebration of the parks’ 80th anniversary for the uptick in visitors.

Virginia has 37 state parks, including the newly opened Natural Bridge State Park in Rockbridge County. State officials say the parks have a $222 million impact on the state’s economy.

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