The deserts are up. The islands are down.
In a year marked by fire and heat waves, January-through-June visitor counts from California’s national parks show that Joshua Tree and Death Valley both drew more visitors than the year before. In the Channel Islands, the opposite was true.
Across the rest of California’s nine major national park units, attendance was a mixed bag.
In Yosemite, figures showed a slight visitor decrease even before wildfires forced temporary closure of Yosemite Valley in July and early August.
In Joshua Tree National Park, rangers counted 1.72 million visitors in the first...