JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) – Attendance at Missouri state parks has risen for the third straight year after a 10-year decline.

Gov. Jay Nixon said Tuesday that more than 17.9 million people visited Missouri state parks in 2011, up 9.1 percent from 2010.

The governor says the increases are evidence that the state’s economy is improving.

The National Recreation and Parks Association ranked Missouri’s state parks system as one of the top four in the country.

Nixon says the parks offer different things for different people, and he encourages families to take advantage of them.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

  1. stlmom4 says:

    That’s great! (But they have to stop calling St. Joe’s St Pk down I-55 a “park”; it’s mounds of lead tailings…

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