Curecanti and Black Canyon Together Create Over $570 Million in Economic Impact

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Date: April 20, 2017
Contact: Sandra Snell-Dobert, 970-641-2337, x227

Gunnison, CO – A new National Park Service (NPS) report shows that 238,017 visitors to Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park in 2016 spent $14,616,100 in communities near the park. That spending supported 197 jobs in the local area and had a cumulative benefit to the local economy of $18,040,200. The same report shows that 982,498 visitors to Curecanti National Recreation Area spent $42,453,700 in nearby communities. That spending supported 565 jobs and had a cumulative benefit to the local economy of $49,014,400.

“Black Canyon and Curecanti welcome visitors from across the country and around the world,” said Superintendent Bruce Noble. “We are delighted to share the story of these places and the experiences they provide. We also enjoy introducing 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 more than $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 economists Catherine Cullinane Thomas of the U.S. Geological Survey and Lynne Koontz of the National Park Service.  The report shows $18.4 billion of direct spending by 331 million park visitors in communities within 60 miles of a national park. This spending supported 318,000 jobs nationally. The cumulative benefit to the U.S. economy was $34.9 billion. 
According to the 2016 report, most park visitor spending was for lodging (31.2 percent) followed by food and beverages (27.2 percent), gas and oil (11.7 percent), admissions and fees (10.2 percent), souvenirs and other expenses (9.7 percent), local transportation (7.4 percent), and camping fees (2.5%).

This year the report authors produced an interactive tool. Users can explore current year visitor spending, jobs, labor income, value added, and output effects by sector for national, state, and local economies. Users can also view year-by-year trend data. The interactive tool and report are available at the NPS Social Science Program webpage:

The report includes information for visitor spending at individual parks and by state.
To learn more about national parks in Colorado, and how the National Park Service works with Colorado communities to help preserve local history, conserve the environment, and provide outdoor recreation, go to

About the National Park Service: More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America’s 417 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Learn more at


Last updated: April 20, 2017

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