Tourism to Western PA National Parks Creates $68 Million in Economic Benefit

Map showing the five National Parks of Western Pennsylvania
Map of the the five National Parks of Western Pennsylvania

National Park Service

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News Release Date: April 23, 2015

Contact: MaryEllen Snyder, 724-329-8131

Report shows visitor spending supports 827 jobs in regional economy

Shanksville, PAA new National Park Service (NPS) report shows that 852,325 visitors to the five National Parks in Western PA spent $49 million dollars in local communities near the five parks in 2014. That visitor spending supported 827 jobs in the region and had a cumulative benefit to the regional economy of $68 million dollars. The five National Parks in Western PA are: Allegheny Portage Railroad National Historic Site, Flight 93 National Memorial, Johnstown Flood National Memorial, Fort Necessity National Battlefield, and Friendship Hill National Historic Site.

"The five Western Pennsylvania National Parks 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. The five parks 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 regional economy as well. We appreciate the partnership and support of our Parks Friends Groups, tourism partners, and neighbors and are glad to be able to give back by helping to sustain local communities."

The study presents the impact solely from visitor spending  and does not include the economic benefits from National Park Service purchasing or the multi-million dollar construction projects at Flight 93 National Memorial.

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 The report includes information for visitor spending at individual parks and by state. To learn more about national parks in Western PA go to or call 724-329-8131.


Last updated: October 27, 2017

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