Tourism to the Big South Fork Creates $17 Million in Economic Benefit

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Date: March 3, 2014
Contact: Dave Carney, 423-569-9778
Contact: Niki Stephanie Nicholas, 423-569-9778

A new National Park Service report shows that more than 600,000 visitors to the Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area in 2012 spent almost $17 million in communities near the park.  That spending supported 213 jobs in the local area in addition to the jobs held by park employees.

"The Big South Fork National River and Recreation Areais proud to welcome visitors from across the country and around the world," said Superintendent Niki Stephanie Nicholas. "We are delighted to share the story of this place and the experiences it provides and to use the park as a way to introduce our visitors to this part of the country and all that it offers.  National Park Service tourism is a significant driver in the national economy returning ten dollars for every one dollar invested in the National Park Service and it's a big factor in our local economy as well.  We appreciate the partnership and support of our neighbors and are glad to be able to give back by helping to sustain local communities."

The peer-reviewed visitor spending analysis was conducted by U.S. Geological Survey economists 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 unit.  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 bed and breakfast establishments (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.  To learn more about national parks in Kentucky and Tennessee and how the National Park Service works with communities to help preserve local history, conserve the environment, and provide outdoor recreation, go to and

Last updated: April 14, 2015

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