Tourism to Badlands and Black Hills National Park Sites Creates $355,585 in Economic Benefits in 2015

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Date: April 21, 2016
Contact: Maureen McGee-Ballinger, 605-574-3115
Contact: Christine Czazasty, 605-433-5240
Contact: Bradley Block, 605-673-8330

Report shows visitor spending supports 4,677 jobs in local economy

Interior, SD –A new National Park Service (NPS) report shows that the 4.2 million visitors to national park sites in the Black Hills/Badlands area in 2015 spent $276.2 million in communities near the park. That spending supported 4,677 jobs in the local area and had a cumulative benefit to the local economy of $355.6 million.

"Badlands, as well as the other nearby national park areas, welcomes visitors from across the country and around the world," said Park Superintendent Mike Pflaum. "We are delighted to share the story of this place and the experiences it provides. We also feature the park as a way to introduce our visitors to this part of the country and all that it offers.

National park tourism is a significant driver in the national economy, returning $10 for every $1 invested in the National Park Service, and it's a big factor in our local economy as well. We appreciate the partnership and support of our neighbors and are glad to be able to give back by helping to sustain local communities."

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 $16.9 billion of direct spending by 307.2 million park visitors in communities within 60 miles of a national park. This spending supported 295,000 jobs nationally;252,000 of those jobs are found in these gateway communities. The cumulative benefit to the U.S. economy was $32 billion.

According to the 2015 report, most park visitor spending was for lodging (31.1 percent) followed by food and beverages (20.2 percent), gas and oil (11.8 percent), admissions and fees (10.2 percent) and souvenirs and other expenses (9.8 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 South Dakota and how the National Park Service works with South Dakota communities to help preserve local history, conserve the environment, and provide outdoor recreation, go to

Last updated: March 6, 2017

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