Bay Area National Parks generated $1 billion in economic benefit to local communities in 2016

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Date: April 20, 2017
Contact: Nathan Hale Sargent, 415-561-4732

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – A new National Park Service (NPS) report shows that 26 million visitors to national parks in the San Francisco Bay Area spent $823 million in local communities in 2016. That spending supported 10,497 local jobs and had a cumulative benefit to the local economy of more than $1 billion. The Bay Area is also home to the most visited park in the country, Golden Gate National Recreation Area.

Nineteen million visitors to Golden Gate National Recreation Area spent $590 million in communities near the park in 2016. That spending supported 7,574 jobs in the local area and had a cumulative benefit to the local economy of more than $731 million.

“Golden Gate National Recreation Area welcomes more visitors from across the country and around the world than any other national park,” Acting Superintendent Cicely Muldoon said. “Whether they are out for their daily walk or jog, a school field trip, or a family vacation, visitors come to have a great experience and end up spending a little money along the way. This new report shows that national park tourism is a significant driver in the national economy – returning $10 for every $1 invested in the National Park Service – and a big factor in the Bay Area economy as well.”

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 nationwide 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 California and how the National Park Service works with communities to help preserve local history, conserve the environment, and provide outdoor recreation, go to


BY THE NUMBERS: 2016 Recreation Visitation, Visitor Spending, and Jobs

Golden Gate National Recreation Area
(including Fort Point National Historic Site and Muir Woods National Monument)
Total Recreation Visits 19,026,052
Total Visitor Spending ($2016) $590,161,400
Jobs Supported 7,574
Economic Output ($2016) $731,539,600

All Bay Area National Parks *
Total Recreation Visits 26,134,833
Total Visitor Spending ($2016) $822,841,400
Jobs Supported 10,497
Economic Output ($2016) $1,014,446,000

* Eugene O'Neill National Historic Site, Golden Gate National Recreation Area, John Muir National Historic Site, Pinnacles National Park, Point Reyes National Seashore, Port Chicago Naval Magazine National Memorial, Rosie the Riveter WWII Home Front National Historical Park, San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park

Last updated: April 20, 2017

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Golden Gate National Recreation Area
Building 201, Fort Mason

San Francisco, CA 94123-0022


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