Tourism to Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore Creates Over $181 Million in Economic Benefits

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Date: April 23, 2015

Report Shows Visitor Spending Supports 2,309 Jobs in Local Economy

A new National Park Service report shows that 1,395,400 visitors to Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore in 2014 spent $144.7 million in communities near the park. That spending supported 2,309 jobs in the local area and had a cumulative benefit to the local economy of $181.7 million.

“Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is proud to welcome visitors from the local area, across the country and around the world,” said Superintendent Dusty Shultz. “We are delighted to share the story of this place and the experiences it provides, and to use the park as a way to introduce our visitors to this part of northern Michigan 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 U.S. Geological Survey economists Catherine Cullinane Thomas and Christopher Huber and Lynne Koontz for the National Park Service.The report shows $15.7 billion of direct spending by 292.8 million park visitors in communities within 60 miles of a national park. This spending supported 277,000 jobs nationally, with 235,600 jobs found in these gateway communities, and had a cumulative benefit to the U.S. economy of $29.7 billion.

According to the 2014 report, most park visitor spending was for lodging (30.6 percent) followed by food and beverages (20.3 percent), gas and oil (11.9 percent), admissions and fees (10.2 percent) and souvenirs and other expenses (9.9 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 Michigan and how the National Park Service works with Michigan communities to help preserve local history, conserve the environment, and provide outdoor recreation, go to

Last updated: April 24, 2015

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