GATLINBURG, Tenn. (WJHL) — The Great Smoky Mountains National Park (GSMNP) experienced its second busiest year in 2022 with nearly 13 million visits.

A release from the National Parks Service said the 2022 year falls just behind the park’s all-time record of visits in 2021, which topped visitation to Yellowstone, Grand Canyon and Yosemite national parks combined.

Last year’s total marks the fourth time visitation at Great Smoky Mountains National Park has exceeded 12 million yearly visits, according to the release. The park saw approximately 12.9 million visits in 2022.

“The 2022 visitation report confirms what we have long known to be true—Great Smoky Mountains National Park continues to be a special place for millions of visitors,” said Superintendent Cassius Cash. “We are thinking about what average visitation over the last ten years means for the next ten years and how we will preserve a high-quality visitor experience as well as park resources.”

A key addition to this year’s operations at the park is a new ‘Park it Forward’ program, which will generate much-needed revenue to improve visitor services and address long-standing maintenance needs at the park, according to the release. Beginning March 1, the park will operate with the program, where any vehicle that parks within the park will be required to display either a $5 daily tag, $15 weekly or $40 annual parking tag, the release said.

Increased shuttle services are planned for this year as well, which park leaders say will help alleviate traffic congestion and parking woes, the release said.

The National Park Service said May through October are the busiest months at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and weekends and holidays are the busiest days. Visitors are encouraged to plan their trip accordingly to help save them time and keep their families safe throughout their visit, according to the release.