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Visitors, Money, and Jobs for Local Economy

Visitors enjoy ranger-led interpretive program at Stout Grove
Visitors enjoy a ranger-led interpretive program at Stout Grove.
NPS Photo

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Date: March 8, 2012
Contact: Candace Tinkler, (707) 465-7304

A new National Park Service (NPS) report shows that 418,820 visitors in 2010 spent $20,717,000 in Redwood National Park and in communities near the park. That spending supported 268 jobs in the local area. 

While the survey's numbers represent a sizeable contribution to the area's economy, the spending averages are adapted from national averages for each park type and size of visitation, adjusted for surrounding populations and spending opportunities. Therefore, because the three California State Parks in the Redwood National and State Park partnership were not included in this survey (Del Norte Coast Redwoods, Jedediah Smith Redwoods, and Prairie Creek Redwoods State Parks), the actual numbers for both visitation and spending for Redwood National and State Parks are considerably higher than reported. Redwood National and State Parks managers estimate that the annual combined visitation to all four parks within the partnership is, at a minimum, 700,000 people per year. At this level of visitation, it is more likely that the parks bring at least $42,000,000 in visitor spending and over 500 local jobs to the economy. 

Visitors to national parks throughout the state of California spent a total of $1.3 billion in 2010 and generated 16,776 jobs. In addition, according to the California Outdoor Recreation Economic Study: State Park System Contributions and Benefits report of 2008, the average annual California State Park System visitor expenditures for the 2006-2008 period are estimated to be approximately $3.2 billion dollars-resulting in an average expenditure per visitor per day of about $41.50. (2010 - 2011 economic statistics are not yet available.) 

"The people and the business owners in communities near national parks have always known their economic value," National Park Superintendent Steve Chaney said. "Redwood National and State parks are clean, green fuel for the engine that drives our local economy." 

Most of the spending/jobs are related to lodging, food, and beverage service (52 percent) followed by other retail (29 percent), entertainment/amusements (10 percent), gas and local transportation (7 percent) and groceries (2 percent). The figures are based on $12 billion of direct spending by 281 million visitors in 394 national parks and nearby communities and are included in an annual, peer-reviewed, visitor spending analysis conducted by Dr. Daniel Stynes of Michigan State University for the National Park Service. 

Across the U.S, local visitor spending added a total of $31 billion to the national economy and supported more than 258,000 jobs, an increase of $689 million and 11,500 jobs over 2009. 

To download the report visit http://www.nature.nps.gov/socialscience/products.cfm#MGM and click on Economic Benefits to Local Communities from National Park Visitation and Payroll, 2010

The report includes information for visitor spending at individual parks and by state.

This news release can also be viewed, downloaded, and/or printed here (PDF, 123 KB).

Did You Know?

Trail through Stout Grove.

While oceans contain most of Earth's carbon, about half stored on land in Redwood National and State Parks is in soils. The amount of carbon in the upper two meters of soil alone is ~14 million metric tons. That's equal to 1% of total U.S. emission in a year!