Economic Benefit of Pictured Rocks NL

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Date: January 31, 2011
Contact: Jim Northup, 906-387-2607, x 202

Michigan Culture Tour visits Sand Point
Michigan Culture Tour visits Sand Point

NPS photo by Gregg Bruff

A recently updated National Park Service study estimates that the existence of Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore results in over $20 million of annual spending and supports a total of 300 jobs in our local community.  

The report entitled "National Park Visitor Spending and Payroll Impacts, 2009" was authored by Daniel J. Stynes from Michigan State University, working on behalf of the National Park Service Social Science Program. Using a formula known as the Money Generation Model, it calculates the economic benefit of every unit of the U.S. National Park System. The spending comes from a combination of NPS payroll that is spent within the local community, as well as money spent by visitors to the park. For the purposes of the study, "local area" is defined as within 60 miles of the park. There were a total of 448,215 visitors to Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore in 2009. The total "value added" (the amount of money that remains within the community after retailers pay for the goods that they then resell to visitors) exceeds $7 million per year. 

"In my mind, parks are priceless," Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore Superintendent Jim Northup said. "As Americans, I hope we value our parks not only for their economic value but more so for what they represent as part of our heritage, for preserving the best of what America has to offer for future generations, and for opportunities to learn, have fun, find inspiration, physical challenge and even spiritual renewal."

"However, particularly in these difficult economic times, a study like this serves as an important reminder that individual units of the national park system, as well as National Forests and Wildlife Refuges, have tremendous economic benefit to local communities," Northup added. "We are proud to be an important component of what makes the Upper Peninsula such a special place to visit, and hope the community appreciates the park's value as well. This study did not include money we spend for a variety of contracts for special projects each year. When you add that in, the benefit to the local community and to employment is even greater."

"The park staff and I will continue to do everything we can to continue to make Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore an attractive and wonderful place to visit, and look forward to continuing our work with the gateway communities, our partner organizations  and other citizens to promote nature based and heritage education tourism to our area" Northup concluded.  

The full NPS study is available at

Last updated: April 10, 2015

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