Tourism to Badlands and Black Hills National Park Sites Creates $229.7 Million in Economic Benefit

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Date: March 3, 2014

KEYSTONE, S.D. – A new National Park Service report shows that 3,782,890 visitors to National Park sites in South Dakota in 2012 spent $229.7 million within the local area. That spending supported 3,549 jobs. 

“National Park sites in the Badlands and Black Hills are proud to welcome visitors from across the country and around the world,” said Badlands Superintendent Eric Brunnemann. “We are delighted to share the story of these places and the experiences they provide and to use the parks as a way to introduce our visitors to this part of the country and all that it offers. National park tourism is a significant driver of the national economy – returning about $10 for every $1 invested in the National Park Service – and it’s a big factor for South Dakota’s economy as well. We appreciate the partnership and support of our local businesses and are glad to be able to give back by helping to sustain our local communities.”

The Badlands and Black Hills national park sites supported local communities with total visitor spending in the millions. Total visitor spending at Badlands National Park was $52,145,400; at Jewel Cave National Monument $5,881,600; at Minuteman Missile National Historic Site $5,173,300; at Mount Rushmore National Memorial $117,601,500; and at Wind Cave National Park $48,978,500 resulted in over $229 million in support.

The peer-reviewed visitor spending analysis was conducted by U.S. Geological Survey economists Catherine Cullinane Thomas and Christopher Huber and Lynne Koontz for the National Park Service. The report shows $14.7 billion of direct spending by 283 million park visitors in communities within 60 miles of a national park. This spending supported 243,000 jobs nationally, with 201,000 jobs found in these gateway communities, and had a cumulative benefit to the U.S. economy of $26.75 billion.

According to the report most visitor spending supports jobs in restaurants, grocery and convenience stores (39 percent), hotels, motels and B&Bs (27 percent), and other amusement and recreation (20 percent).

To download the report visit

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

Footage on the 2012 National Park Visitors Spending Report is available at


To learn more about national parks in South Dakota and how the National Park Service works with South Dakota communities to help preserve local history, conserve the environment, and provide outdoor recreation, go

Last updated: April 10, 2015

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