News Release

Tourism to Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument creates $3.3 million in Economic Benefits

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Date: June 10, 2021
Contact: John Warren, 215-908-3159

PATTEN, MAINE – A new National Park Service (NPS) report shows that approximately 41,000 visitors to Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument in 2020 spent $2.7 million in communities near the park. That spending supported 38 jobs in the local area and had a cumulative benefit to the local economy of $3.3 million. 

“Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument is almost five years old, so this is the first time we have been included in the NPS economic report," said Superintendent Tim Hudson. "It is exciting that the monument, located in part of the traditional Penobscot homeland, attracted 41,000 visitors with its long cultural and natural history. It is even more exciting that this occurred with the monument’s limited accommodations and facilities, which are in their infancy. 

“The visitors came to promote their own physical and mental wellness and expressed this with such activities as hiking, canoeing, snowmobiling, biking, fishing, hunting, and observing the darkest skies in the northeast. As we grow the amenities for visitors in concert with the Katahdin Region, we expect many more people to find their park at Katahdin Woods and Waters as part of their experience to enjoy this part of the country and all that it offers.”

Together, more than half of the expenditures by visitors went to hotels and restaurants in the gateway communities. Other expenses included retail, gas, groceries and recreation industries. The regional area for Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument includes Aroostook, Penobscot, and Piscataquis Counties.

Overall, 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; 194,400 of those jobs are found in these gateway communities. The cumulative benefit to the U.S. economy was $28.6 billion.  

Looking at the economics of visitor spending nationally, the lodging sector had the highest direct effects, with $5 billion in economic output nationally. The restaurants sector was had the second greatest effects, with $3 billion in economic output. Visitor spending on lodging supported more than 43,100 jobs and more than 45,900 jobs in restaurants. Visitor spending in the recreation industries supported more than 18,100 jobs and spending in retail supported more than 14,300 jobs. 

Report authors also produce 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:  

To learn more about national parks in Maine and how the National Park Service works with Maine communities to help preserve local history, conserve the environment, and provide outdoor recreation, go to

Last updated: February 23, 2023

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