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Sagamore Hill, Fire Island Seashore see jump in attendance

The Sagamore Hill historic site saw a 119

The Sagamore Hill historic site saw a 119 percent jump in attendance in 2015. Credit: Chuck Fadely

The Sagamore Hill National Historic Site and Fire Island National Seashore saw increases in attendance in 2015, officials said.

More than 42,000 people toured Oyster Bay’s “Summer White House,” Theodore Roosevelt’s home for 35 years, the National Park Service said.

That 119 percent rise over the previous year was attributed to last July’s resumption of tours of Roosevelt’s Queen Anne-style house after a three-year renovation.

Martin Christianson, Sagamore Hill spokesman, said Wednesday that the restoration might spur visitorship to double next year.

Tweed Roosevelt, president of the Theodore Roosevelt Association, said current political divisions might partly explain the heightened interest in his great-grandfather.

“I think there is a thirst in this country for responsible, educated, knowledgeable, compassionate leadership,” he said.

“Certainly, Theodore Roosevelt is one of those who is remembered very fondly . . . and that translates into people wanting to see the actual physical locations that are connected to him.”

One hallmark of Roosevelt’s presidency was his “Square Deal” promise to all Americans, which meant no group would be favored over another, historians say.

The famed trustbuster who fought for consumer safeguards and amplified the U.S. role on the world stage also is considered the “conservation” president for creating so many national parks.

Last year, people who viewed his estate’s forests, gardens, historical photographs and 1,200 artifacts — from works of art to big game trophies — gave the local economy a $3.3 million boost, supporting 30 jobs, the national park service said.

By comparison, the Fire Island National Seashore’s 442,000 visitors, a 15 percent gain from 2014, added $23.5 million to the local economy, supporting 218 jobs in the area, the park service said.

Fire Island Superintendent Chris Soller in a statement said national parks returned $10 for every $1 invested in them.

The total of visitors to all national parks last year rose almost 5 percent from 2014, topping 307 million for the first time, the park service said.

These people spent $16.9 billion in communities located within 60 miles of the parks, helping to create 295,000 jobs and augment the economy by $32 billion.

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