Glacier Creates 179 Million in Economic Benefit

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Date: July 21, 2014
Contact: Denise Germann, 406 888 5838

A new National Park Service report shows that 2.2 million visitors to Glacier National Park in 2013 spent nearly $179 million in communities near the park. That spending supported 2,824 jobs in the local area.

Glacier National Park Superintendent Jeff Mow said, “Glacier National Park plays a critical role as an economic driver in Montana.” Mow said that the report indicates that national park tourism returns $10 for every $1 invested across the country, and that’s significant, especially in the local and regional economy of Montana.

The peer-reviewed visitor spending analysis was conducted by U.S. Geological Survey economists Catherine Cullinane Thomas and Christopher Huber and Lynne Koontz for the National Park Service. The report shows $14.6 billion of direct spending by 273.6 million park visitors in communities within 60 miles of a national park. This spending supported more than 237,000 jobs nationally, with more than 197,000 jobs found in these gateway communities, and had a cumulative benefit to the U.S. economy of $26.5 billion.

According to the 2013 economic analysis, most visitor spending was for lodging (30.3 percent) followed by food and beverages (27.3 percent), gas and oil (12.1 percent), admissions and fees (10.3 percent) and souvenirs and other expenses (10 percent).

The largest jobs categories supported by visitor spending were restaurants and bars (50,000 jobs) and lodging (38,000 jobs).

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

Last updated: February 24, 2015

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