Atlanta Area Parks Create $268 Million in Economic Benefit

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Summer visitors floating the Chattahoochee River.

NPS Photo by Scott Pfeninger

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News Release Date: March 3, 2014

Contact: Rudy Evenson

SANDY SPRINGS, KENNESAW, AND ATLANTA, GA: The three National Park Service (NPS) units in the Atlanta metropolitan area tell the stories of the Civil War and the Civil Rights movement and protect more than half of the area's public green space. And according to a new NPS report, the 5.8 million visitors to the Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park, Martin Luther King, Jr., National Historic Site, and Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area in 2012 spent $268,088,000 in the metro area. This spending supported 3,900 jobs.

"This is an exciting year for us as we commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Kennesaw Mountain," noted Superintendent Nancy Walther, "and we welcome visitors from across the country and around the world." According to the new report, Kennesaw Mountain saw 1,935,909 visitors in 2012, who spent $104,173,600 in the area, supporting 1,556 local jobs.

"Martin Luther King, Jr., National Historic Site memorializes America's most revered Civil Rights movement leader and commemorates a civil rights legacy that all Americans share," said Superintendent Judy Forte. The park preserves the Auburn Avenue neighborhood where Dr. King was born, where he spent his boyhood years, where he preached and where he is buried. The Martin Luther King, Jr., National Historic Site is one of Atlanta's top visitor destinations, drawing 707,514 visitors in 2012, who spenet $38,072,200 and supported 569 local jobs.

"National park tourism is a significant driver in the national economy," added Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area Superintendent Bill Cox. "Parks return $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 business," added Cox. In 2012, Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area had 3,168,137 visitors, who spent $125,842,200 in the area, supporting 1,775 local jobs.

The data on Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park, Martin Luther King, Jr., National Historic Site, and Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area come from a peer-reviewed spending analysis 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 spendindg 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.

For video content related to this news release, please visit

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


Last updated: April 20, 2017

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