JEFFERSON CITY — Attendance at Missouri state parks has risen for the third straight year after a decade-long 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 said 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 said the parks offer different things for different people, and he encourages families to take advantage of them.