Tourism to the National Parks of Southern West Virginia creates $60,572 in Economic Benefits

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Date: April 23, 2015
Contact: Mark Bollinger, 304-465-6523

Glen Jean, WV–A new National Park Service (NPS) report shows that 1,280,604 visitors to New River Gorge National River, Bluestone National Scenic River, and Gauley River National Recreation Area in 2014 spent $53,448,900 in communities near the park. That spending supported 808 jobs in the local area and had a cumulative benefit to the local economy of $60,572,100.

"The National Parks of Southern West Virginia are proud towelcome visitors from across the country and around the world," said Superintendent Trish Kicklighter. "We are delighted to share the story of this place and the experiences it provides. We also feature the park 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 in the national economy, returning $10 for every $1 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 Catherine Cullinane Thomas and Christopher Huber and National Park Service economist Lynne Koontz.  The report shows $15.7 billion of direct spending by 292.8 million park visitors in communities within 60 miles of a national park. This spending supported 277,000 jobs nationally;235,600 of those jobs are found in these gateway communities. The cumulative benefit to the U.S. economy was $29.7 billion.

According to the 2014 report, most park visitor spending was for lodging (30.6 percent) followed by food and beverages (20.3 percent), gas and oil (11.9 percent), admissions and fees (10.2 percent) and souvenirs and other expenses (9.9 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 West Virginia and how the National Park Service works with West Virginiacommunities to help preserve local history, conserve the environment, and provide outdoor recreation, go to

Last updated: April 23, 2015

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