Palo Alto Battlefield's Economic Impact

Living historian in U.S. Mexican War uniform address the audience.
A group of visitors listening to a living history program.


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News Release Date: April 24, 2017

Contact: Mark Spier, (956) 541-2785 x222

A new National Park Service (NPS) report shows that 58,555 visitors to Palo Alto Battlefield National Historical Park in 2016 spent $3,423,600 in communities near the park. That spending supported 57 jobs in the local area and had a cumulative benefit to the local economy of $4,232,800.

Impacting Communities

“Palo Alto Battlefield National Historical Park welcomes visitors from across the country and around the world,” said Superintendent Mark Spier. “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 more than $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.”

“Palo Alto Battlefield set a record for visitation in 2016 and we hope even more visitors will come this year to explore important stories of our past and to help grow our local economy today and into the future." Mark Spier, Superintendent

Breaking Down the Data

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 $18.4 billion of direct spending by 331 million park visitors in communities within 60 miles of a national park. This spending supported 318,000 jobs nationally; 271,544 of those jobs are found in these gateway communities. The cumulative benefit to the U.S. economy was $ 34.9 billion.

According to the 2016 report, most park visitor spending was for lodging (31.2 percent) followed by food and beverages (27.2 percent), gas and oil (11.7 percent), admissions and fees (10.2 percent), souvenirs and other expenses (9.7 percent), local transportation (7.4 percent), and camping fees (2.5%).

Learn More

Report authors this year produced an interactive tool. Users can explore current year 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. The report includes information for visitor spending at individual parks and by state.

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

Last updated: April 25, 2017

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

1623 Central Blvd., Suite 213
Brownsville, TX 78520


(956) 541-2785 x333

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