News Release

National park tourism in West Virginia creates $131 million in economic benefit

Date: July 13, 2022
Contact: Chelsea Sullivan, 202-619-7177

WASHINGTON – A new National Park Service (NPS) report shows that 2,187,125 visitors to national parks in West Virginia spent $108.9 million in the state in 2021. That spending resulted in 1,447 jobs and had a cumulative benefit to the state economy of $131 million. 

The national parks in West Virginia include the Appalachian National Scenic Trail, Bluestone National Nation Scenic River, Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park, Gauley River National Recreation Area, Harpers Ferry National Historical Park, Lewis & Clark National Historic Trail and New River Gorge National Park and Preserve. 

Economists at the National Park Service and the U.S. Geological Survey conducted the peer-reviewed visitor spending analysis. The report shows that nationwide, $20.5 billion of direct spending by more than 297 million park visitors in communities within 60 miles of a national park. This spending supported 322,600 jobs nationally; 269,900 of those jobs are in these gateway communities. The cumulative benefit to the U.S. economy was $42.5 billion. 

As for the economics of visitor spending, the lodging sector had the highest direct effects, with $7 billion in economic output nationally. The restaurants sector was had the second greatest effects, with $4.2 billion in economic output nationally. 
Report authors also produced an interactive tool 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 West Virginia and how the National Park Service works with West Virginia communities to help preserve local history, conserve the environment, and provide outdoor recreation, go to

Last updated: July 14, 2022