National Park Service Releases 2012 Economic Impacts Report

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Date: March 5, 2014

Crescent City, CA – National Parks continue to be important economic engines for local communities, with visitors generating $26.7 billion in economic activity and supporting 243,000 jobs nationwide in 2012, according to a peer-reviewed report released Monday by the National Park Service (NPS). The report, 2012 National Park Visitor Spending Effects: Economic Contributions to Local Communities, States, and the Nation, is an economic effects analysis measuring how NPS visitor spending cycles through local economies, generating business sales and supporting jobs and income. The bottom line? Every $1 invested by American taxpayers in the National Park Service returns $10 to the U. S. economy.

According to the report, there were at least 330,158 non-local recreation visits to Redwood National Park in 2012, generating $20,558.4 million in non-local spending and directly supporting 294 jobs, with the total contribution of visitor spending culminating in a $23,206.2 million benefit to the local economy.

While the numbers for Redwood National Park are impressive on their own, they do not include visitation statistics for the three California State Parks within the Redwood National and State Parks partnership—Del Norte Coast Redwoods, Jedediah Smith Redwoods, and Prairie Creek Redwoods State Parks. Therefore, the actual numbers for both visitation and spending for the Redwood National and State Parks partnership are considerably higher than reported in the survey. Redwood National and State Parks managers estimate that the annual combined visitation to all four parks within the partnership is over 900,000 people per year. At this level of visitation, it is far more likely that the parks within the partnership bring over $55 million in visitor spending and at least 500 local jobs to the economy.

The estimates from this year's analysis are not directly comparable to previous analyses. This is because the 2012 analysis is a major revision from previous efforts. Many of the hallmarks of the past model are preserved, but the new model makes significant strides in accuracy and transparency of the analysis. Key changes include new economic data and new estimates of spending and visitor trip characteristics.

While tourism and jobs related to nearby public lands annually contribute billions to regional economies and create hundreds of thousands of private sector jobs, for local communities the benefits of neighboring parks and forests extend far beyond tourism. "This is a land of breath-taking scenery and endless opportunities to explore," states Candace Tinkler, NPS Chief of Interpretation and Education for Redwood National and State Parks. "I consider myself incredibly lucky to live next door to this world-class abundance of protected natural and cultural resources, and I'm not alone. More and more the value of natural amenities and recreational opportunities are important considerations to people and businesses relocating to these areas for quality of life reasons."

To download the report visit report includes information for visitor spending at individual parks and by state. To learn more about national parks in Californiaand how the National Park Service works withcommunities to preserve local history, conserve the environment, and provide local recreation opportunities, go to

Download this press release here (PDF 108 KB)

Last updated: September 28, 2017

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