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Strong City, KS – According to a recently released report, visitors to Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve in 2016 contributed over 1.7 million dollars to the regional economy, roughly within 60 miles.
Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve – Last year the National Park Service had a record 330,971,689 recreational visits to the 417 National Park sites, an increase of almost 8% over the visitation for 2015. Tallgrass Prairie had 29,378 recreational visits. Much of the increased visitation and interest in Park Service sites was due to the National Park Service Centennial and the “Find Your Park” campaign that encouraged people to discover the many things to do and learn in National Park sites across the country.
Of course, visitors quite often spend money in the gateway communities around National Park sites and 2016 also saw a record-setting economic boost to the national and local economies from America’s national parks. Nationally, visitors to national parks spent $18.4 billion on services such as lodging, food, and gas. In the communities around the preserve, park visitors spent over $1.7 million or an average of $230 for a family of four.
The largest chunk of spending went to lodging, followed by restaurants, and then gas. There was also spending in retail, groceries, local recreation outlets, transportation, and camping. Direct visitor spending on goods and services is not the only economic boost parks provide to the economy. Besides the direct economic support of visitors paying for goods and services in the community, there are also indirect economic effects. These include jobs directly supported by visitor spending, labor income such as employee wages, salaries and payroll benefits, value added effects, which measures the contribution visitor spending has on the Gross Domestic Product of a regional economy and economic output, a measure of the total estimated value of the production of goods and services supported by visitor spending. For communities within 60 miles in and around Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve, visitor spending in 2016 supported 26 local jobs, contributed $735,000 in labor income, $1.2 million in value added, and $2.1 million in economic output.
This year’s authors of the report have produced an interactive tool where 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: go.nps.gov/vse. The report also includes information for visitor spending at individual parks and by state. To learn more about national parks in Kansas and how the National Park Service works with Kansas communities to help preserve local history, conserve the environment, and provide outdoor recreation, go to www.nps.gov/Kansas.
The preserve invites you to discover the meaning of national parks, how your park inspires you – both in personal connections and memorable experiences. Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve is located two miles north of Strong City on Kansas State Highway 177 (the Flint Hills National Scenic Byway) and is a unique public/private partnership between the National Park Service and The Nature Conservancy. For additional information on Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve, please visit www.nps.gov/tapr, email e-mail us, call the preserve at (620) 273-8494, or visit the preserve’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/NPS.TallgrassPrairie. To learn more about The Nature Conservancy in Kansas, visit the Conservancy’s website at www.nature.org/Kansas or Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/TNCKansas .