News Release

Golden Gate National Parks Tourism Contributes $513 Million in Economic Benefit

People walk along San Francisco Bay on a bright blue day with the Golden Gate Bridge and fog in the background. The white Warming Hut and red banners are left of the trail.
Visitors on the San Francisco Bay Trail in Crissy Field, San Francisco.

NPS: Kirke Wrench

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News Release Date: August 8, 2018

Contact: GGNRA Public Affairs, 415-786-8021

SAN FRANCISCO – The recent National Park Service Visitor Spending Effects Report showed that in 2017 more than 17.6 million visitors traveled to Golden Gate National Recreation Area, Muir Woods National Monument, and Fort Point National Historic Site and spent $513 million in communities near the park, supported 5,998 jobs in the local area, and had a cumulative benefit to the local economy of $612 million.

Of this number, almost 15.0 million visitors visited Golden Gate National Recreation Area, the nation’s second most visited national park, spent $365 million in communities, supporting 4,090 jobs, with a benefit to the local economy of $419 million. More than 1.5 million visitors at Fort Point National Historic Site spent 87.6 million dollars, supported 1130 jobs, and had a cumulative benefit of $121 million. The popular Muir Woods National Monument had 1.1 million visitors, which spent $60.7 million in gateway communities, to contribute 778 local jobs, and $82.8 million in economic output in these communities.

“The Golden Gate National Parks welcome visitors from across the country and around the world,” said Superintendent Laura E. Joss. “We are delighted to share the story of these parks and the experiences they provide. We also feature the parks as a way to 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 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.”

These Golden Gate National Parks are supported by local agencies and non-profit partners to provide a national park experience for visitors from all over the world, and to San Francisco’s urban communities. 

There are 28 national parks in California, including iconic parks such as Yosemite National Park, Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, Death Valley National Park and Redwood National and State Parks. Parks such as Cabrillo National Monument in San Diego and César E. Chávez National Monument in Keene preserve California and U.S. history.
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 $18.2 billion of direct spending by more than 330 million park visitors in communities within 60 miles of a national park. This spending supported 306,000 jobs nationally; 255,900 of those jobs are found in these gateway communities. The cumulative benefit to the U.S. economy was $35.8 billion. 

The lodging sector received the highest direct contributions with $5.5 billion in economic output to local gateway economies and 49,000 jobs. The restaurants sector -received the next greatest direct contributions with $3.7 billion in economic output to local gateway economies and 60,500 jobs.

According to the 2017 report, most park visitor spending was for lodging/camping (32.9 percent) followed by food and beverages (27.5 percent), gas and oil (12.1 percent), souvenirs and other expenses (10.1 percent), admissions and fees (10.0 percent), and local transportation (7.5 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 Park Service’s Social Science Program webpage: The report includes information for visitor spending by park 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

Last updated: August 8, 2018

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Building 201, Fort Mason

San Francisco, CA 94123-0022


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