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SAN FRANCISCO—In 2020, the 13.6 million park visitors to Golden Gate National Recreation Area, Muir Woods National Monument and Fort Point National Historic Site spent $775 million in gateway communities which supported 7,850 local jobs, according to a recent National Park Service report.
Despite the unexpected changes brought by the coronavirus pandemic, visitation at some areas of the park increased in 2020. While the park may have seen fewer international visitors, its beaches and other scenic coastal areas saw record-setting visitation.In 2020, Golden Gate NRA, one of the most-visited units of the National Park System, saw more than 12.4 million visitors, who spent more than $684 million in nearby communities, supporting 6,862 jobs.
The more than 884,000 visitors to Fort Point National Historic Site, a Civil War era fortress in the shadow of the Golden Gate Bridge, spent $52 million in local communities and supported 620 jobs. In Marin County, the old-growth redwood forest at Muir Woods National Monument saw more than 324,000 visitors, who spent $37 million in local communities to contribute 368 jobs.
“The past year has given us a renewed appreciation for parks and the role they play in providing for our wellness,” said General Superintendent Laura Joss. “Last year, staff eagerly welcomed many visitors to our park for the first time and we expect that trend to continue in 2021.”
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 $14.5 billion of direct spending by more than 237 million park visitors in communities within 60 miles of a national park. This spending supported 234,000 jobs nationally. The cumulative benefit to the U.S. economy was $28.6 billion.
The NPS works alongside commercial partners, including concessionaires and lease-holders, to provide unique and inspiring national park experiences. National parks around the Bay Area have helped support the ongoing recovery of the business community.
Over the past year, the NPS has also worked closely with partners at the Presidio Trust and Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy to ensure for the safety of visitors and employees. The three organizations jointly demonstrated a strong commitment to serving the park community by adapting to a frequently-changing environment.
At Golden Gate NRA, Fort Point NHS, and Muir Woods NM, lodging expenses accounted for the largest share of visitor spending—about $301.5 million in 2020. The restaurant sector had $190.3 million in spending. Transportation expenditures were $71.9 million with retail spending at $55.6 million.
The report’s authors have produced an interactive tool that enables users to explore 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: https://www.nps.gov/subjects/socialscience/vse.htm.
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 https://www.nps.gov/state/ca/index.htm.
Last updated: June 16, 2021