Local Economic Impacts 2016

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Date: May 5, 2017
Contact: Eileen Andes, 701-623-4466

MEDORA, North Dakota – A new National Park Service (NPS) report shows that 793,383 visitors to Fort Union Trading Post National Historic Site, Knife River Indian Villages National Historic Site, and Theodore Roosevelt National Park in 2016 spent $49.579 million in communities near these parks. That spending supported 681 jobs in the surrounding areas.
“Last year’s National Park Service Centennial events and the Find Your Park campaign brought record visitation to Theodore Roosevelt National Park and substantial increases to Fort Union Trading Post and Knife River Indian Village National Historic Sites,” said North Dakota Group Superintendent Wendy Ross. “The North Dakota national parks tell meaningful stories and protect cherished resources, and they are a significant driver in the state’s tourism economy. We welcome visitors from across the country and around the world to experience these special places. 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 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 331million park visitors in communities within 60 miles of a national park. This spending supported 318,000 jobs nationally, with 271,544 jobs found in these gateway communities, and had a cumulative benefit to the U.S. economy of $39.5 billion. National park tourism is a significant driver in the national economy, returning more than $10 for every $1 invested in the National Park Service.
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), and souvenirs and other expenses (9.7 percent), local transportation (7.4 percent), and camping fees (2.5 percent).

Report authors this year produced an interactive tool. Users can explore current year visitor spending, jobs, labor income, value added, and output effects 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. go.nps.gov/vse.  
The report includes information for visitor spending at individual parks and by state.
To learn more about national parks in North Dakota and how the National Park Service works with North Dakota communities to help preserve local history, conserve the environment, and provide outdoor recreation, go to www.nps.gov/NORTHDAKOTA.

Last updated: May 5, 2017

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