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Contact: MaryEllen Snyder, 724-329-8131
Farmington, PA –A new National Park Service (NPS) report based on 2015 visitation shows that 984,471 visitors to the five National Park Service sites in Western PA spent $58 million dollars in communities near the parks. The five National Park Service sites include;Allegheny Portage Railroad NHS, Flight 93 National Memorial, Fort Necessity National Battlefield, Friendship Hill NHS, and Johnstown Flood National Memorial. In 2015 visitor spending supported 828 jobs and contributed $81 million to the regional economy.
"The five National Park Service Sites in western PA welcome visitors from across the country and around the world," said Superintendent Stephen M. Clark. "We are delighted to share the story of these five special places and the experiences they provide. 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 regional 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 $16.9 billion of direct spending by 307.2 million park visitors in communities within 60 miles of a national park. This spending supported 295,000 jobs nationally;252,000 of those jobs are found in these gateway communities. The cumulative benefit to the U.S. economy was $32 billion.
According to the 2015 report, most park visitor spending was for lodging (31.1 percent) followed by food and beverages (20.2 percent), gas and oil (11.8 percent), admissions and fees (10.2 percent) and souvenirs and other expenses (9.8 percent).
Report authors this year 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:go.nps.gov/vse. The report includes information for visitor spending at individual parks and by state.
National Park visitation is expected to grow in 2016, the centennial year for the NPS. There are now 411 parks in the national park system, the latest is the Belmont-Paul Women's Equality National Monument in Washington D.C., established by President Obama on April 12.
To learn more about the Western PA National Parks visit the parks websites at Western PA Parks, like us on Facebook. Visitors may call 724-329-8131 for information on 2016 special events. For information on the national parks in Pennsylvania and how the National Park Service works with Pennsylvania communities to help preserve local history, conserve the environment, and provide outdoor recreation, go to www.nps.gov/pennsylvania.