Mammoth Cave NP creates $40.4 million in economic benefit

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Date: March 6, 2014
Contact: Vickie Carson, 270-758-2192

MAMMOTH CAVE, Ky., March 6, 2014 – A new National Park Service (NPS) report shows that 508,054 visitors to Mammoth Cave National Park in 2012 spent $40.4 million in communities near the park. That spending supported 574 jobs in the local area.

"Often national parks are recognized for their intangible or aesthetic significance," said Superintendent Sarah Craighead. "This new study quantifies the value of national parks in dollars and cents. It states that national park tourism is a significant driver in the national economy – returning $10 for every $1 invested in the National Park Service." 

"Every year, Mammoth Cave National Park welcomes visitors from across the country and around the world," added Craighead. "We work cooperatively with our tourism partners to draw people to Kentucky's cave-country and then provide them with the activities and services they need. We look for mutual benefit." 

The peer-reviewed visitor spending analysis was conducted by U.S. Geological Survey economists Catherine Cullinane Thomas, Christopher Huber and Lynne Koontz for the National Park Service. The report shows $14.7 billion of direct spending by 283 million park visitors in communities within 60 miles of a national park. This spending supported 243,000 jobs nationally, with 201,000 jobs found in these gateway communities, and had a cumulative benefit to the U.S. economy of $26.75 billion. 

According to the report most visitor spending supports jobs in restaurants, grocery and convenience stores (39 percent), hotels, motels and B&Bs (27 percent), and other amusement and recreation (20 percent). 

To download the report visit The report includes information for visitor spending at individual parks and by state. To learn more about national parks in Kentucky and how the National Park Service works with area communities to help preserve local history, conserve the environment, and provide outdoor recreation, go to  

Last updated: April 14, 2015

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