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INDIANA DUNES NATIONAL LAKESHORE: A new National Park Service (NPS) report shows that 2,150,345 visitors in 2010 spent $63,495,000 in the communities around Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. That spending supported 658 jobs in the local area.
"People value the national lakeshore for its recreation opportunities," park superintendent Constantine Dillon said. "Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore is also an economic boon to Northwest Indiana. Our surveys indicate 60% of park visitors are coming from outside the state," added Dillon, "that's money being added to the regional economy."
Most of the spending/jobs are related to lodging, food, and beverage service (52 percent) followed by other retail (29 percent), entertainment/amusements (10 percent), gas and local transportation (7 percent) and groceries (2 percent).
The figures are based on $12 billion of direct spending by 281 million visitors in 394 national parks and nearby communities and are included in an annual, peer-reviewed, visitor spending analysis conducted by Dr. Daniel Stynes of Michigan State University for the National Park Service.
Dillon commented that even though Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore already contributes to the local economy, it could do more. "We invite those who may not have seen this region's only national park as an invitation for business to look for opportunities," said Dillon. "There are relatively few restaurants or visitor retail shops near the park and visitors look for those services."
Across the U.S, local visitor spending added a total of $31 billion to the national economy and supported more than 258,000 jobs, an increase of $689 million and 11,500 jobs over 2009.
To download the report, visit http://www.nature.nps.gov/socialscience/products.cfm#MGM and click on Economic Benefits to Local Communities from National Park Visitation and Payroll, 2010.
The report includes information for visitor spending at individual parks and by state. For more information on how the NPS is working in Indiana, go to http://www.nps.gov/indiana.
Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore is part of the National Park Service. More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America's 397 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Learn more at www.nps.gov.