Tourism to Fort Union National Monument creates $805,900 in Economic Benefits

Tour of Fort Union
Visitors on tour of 3rd Fort

Richard Gonzales

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News Release Date: April 29, 2017

Contact: Lorenzo Vigil, 505-425-8025

Tourism to Fort Union National Monument creates $805,900 in Economic Benefits Report shows visitor spending supports 11 jobs in local economy

Watrous, NM:  A new National Park Service (NPS) report shows that 12,000 visitors to Fort Union National Monument in 2016 spent $805,900 in communities near the park. That spending supported 11 jobs in the local area and had a cumulative benefit to the local economy of $910,700.


“National park tourism is a significant driver in the national economy, returning $10 for every $1 invested in the national Park Service” said Fort Union Superintendent Charles Strickfaden “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. Visitors come from all over the world to visit Fort Union National Monument and we are delighted to share the story of this place and the experiences it provides.” 


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; 271,544,000 of those jobs are found in these gateway communities. 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%).

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:


The report includes information for visitor spending at individual parks and by state.


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


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 To visit the monument, take Exit 366 off I-25 at Watrous, NM, onto State Hwy. 161, 8 miles. Park hours are 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. For more information, contact Fort Union National Monument at (505) 425-8025. You can find our free APP in the Apple App Store and on Google Play. Search for Fort Union National Monument. Visit, or like on us on Facebook at

Last updated: April 29, 2017

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Watrous, NM 87753


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