ANCHORAGE - More people are buying annual parking decals for state parks instead of getting the $5 daily pass.
Annual pass sales are up $100,000 from last year, according to the Department of Natural Resources.
Flattop is one of the most popular hiking areas around Anchorage, and the Department of Natural Resources staff said most of the time it's Alaska residents visiting state parks during the summer.
Residents want to get the most bang for their buck so they purchase a $40 annual pass.
The field operations chief for the parks and outdoor recreation division said another reason state parks are attracting visitors is that crews are also working to renovate and improve parks.
In the past couple years the Department of Natural Resources spent $300,000 in capital funds improving Thunderbird Falls by restoring trails and fixing up the parking lot.
Staff hope that will encourage more people to visit the area and in turn create more revenue.
Thunderbird Falls, like Flattop, is in the Chugach State Park. “We had a great winter so there was more use in the winter time,” said Claire LeClair. “So I think people are more likely to buy a pass when they know they're going to be visiting more than a handful of times because it just makes sense.”
Through May people spent $395,000 on annual pass decals and $349,000 on daily passes. In June of 2011 people spent $286,000 on yearly passes and $415,000 on daily passes.
All of the money goes right back into the park.