National Park Tourism in Atlanta Metro Area Creates $208 Million in Local Economic Benefit

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Date: February 27, 2013
Contact: Rudy Evenson, Park Information Officer, 678-538-1241

Part of $30 Billion Impact that Supports 252,000 Jobs Nationwide

Visitors preparing for a float down the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area. Photo by NPS

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 6.4 million visitors to the Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park, Martin Luther King, Jr., National Historic Site, and Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area in 2011 spent $207,785,000 in the metro area. This spending supported 2,527 jobs.

"Not only are we teaching visitors from all over the world about the Atlanta Campaign, as we approach its 150th anniversary in 2014," noted Kennesaw Mountain Superintendent Nancy Walther, "but we also provide trail recreation for hundreds of thousands of neighbors on a daily basis." According to the new report, Kennesaw Mountain saw 1,748,436 visitors in 2011, who spent $59,809,000 in the area, supporting 742 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 American share," said Superintendent Judy Forte. The park preserves the Auburn Avenue neighhorhood 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 1,490,358 visitors in 2011, who spent $45,868,000 and supported 600 local jobs.

"On forty-eight miles of river, we have over three million visitors a year enjoying year-round recreation," added Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area Superintendent Patty Wissinger. "In addition to floating and paddling in the summer, we have fishing, hiking, running, birding and bicycling year-round." In 2011, Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area had 3,161,297 visitors, who spent $102,108,000 in the area, supporting 1,185 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 of national park visitors across the country conducted by Michigan State University for the National Park Service. For 2011, that report shows $13 billion of direct spending by 279 million park visitors in communities within 60 miles of a national park. That visitor spending had a $30 billion impact on the entire U.S. economy and supported 252,000 jobs nationwide.

Most visitor spending supports jobs in lodging, food, and beverage service (63 percent) followed by recreation and entertainment (17 percent), other retail (11percent), transportation and fuel (7 percent) and wholesale and manufacturing (2 percent.)

To download the report visit Economic Benefits to Local Communities from National Park Visitation, 2011 or enter in your browser. The report includes information for visitor spending at individual parks and by state.

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, go to

The National Park Service cares for special places saved by the American people so that all may experience our heritage.

Last updated: April 14, 2015

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