ANILCA’s Contribution Toward a Vibrant Alaska Economy

People stand on the deck of a boat looking at a glacier in front of them
Visitors watch a calving glacier on a boat trip into Kenai Fjords National Park. Locals residents were against the creation of the park, but now embrace it as an economic asset to the economy.

NPS photo by Jim Pfeiffenberger

The conservation benefits of ANILCA have also translated into strong economic benefits for Alaskans. The national park areas created or expanded by ANILCA in 1980 are considered to be world treasures and people from across the country, as well as around the globe, come here to experience them. Whether they are local residents who bring their families to Denali for the weekend, or first-time visitors from abroad who come to see Katmai's famous bears, all of Alaska's parks provide superlative experiences to visitors. Tourism to national parks continues to be an important part of the national economy, and a significant economic engine for Alaska. Nationwide, Alaska had the second-highest level of total visitor spending among all states. 2,920,250 visitors to national parks in Alaska spent $1.36 billion in the state in 2018. That spending resulted in 17,760 jobs and had a cumulative benefit to the state economy of over $1.98 billion.

In 2019, 3.2 million park visitors spent an estimated $1.5 billion in local gateway regions while visiting National Park Service lands in Alaska. These expenditures supported a total of 19.6 thousand jobs, $730 million in labor income, $1.3 billion in value added, and $2.2 billion in economic output in the Alaska economy. In the Southeast Alaska gateway communities of Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve and Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park alone, over 1.7 million visitors spent an estimated $420 million. These expenditures supported a combined total of 5,580 jobs, $213 million in labor income, $348 million in value added, and $622 million in economic output in local gateway communities. Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park is the state’s most visit national park area. In Denali National Park and Preserve, the third most visited park in Alaska, visitors spent an estimated $613 million there. These expenditures supported a total of 7,490 jobs, $288 million in labor income, $541 million in value added, and $874 million in economic output in local gateway economies surrounding the park.

Learn more about the economic contributions to the Alaska Economy
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Learn more about the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA):

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